Onslaught is a bit on the epic side. It's set in the land of Gargore, where dozens of warring kingdoms are at each others throats and armies of 1000s are being slaughtered by the minute. You're cast as a Fanatic, a solitary warrior with the strength of a whole battalion. Your aim is to beat up as many people as possible and nick all their land. Study the map-screen, decide where to have a crack at the enemy and the game flips into scrolling mode.
The idea is to clear the battlefield of enemies but before this can be achieved, you have to capture the enemy's banner to prevent more troops appearing. The battle then continues through a couple more stages, culminating in a Mind Battle - broadly similar to the 'mega-alien' found in the majority of games these days. Defeat this and you win the campaign. Onslaught wouldn't be complete without the many add on weapons available. They appear as shields in the wake of your defeated foe. Up to eight can be carried at once and they come in very handy for supplementing your standard issue mace. The baddies have a few tricks up their sleeves too though. Not only are you fallen upon by mere foot soldiers, but you also have to be wary of the larger, nastier assailants which come in a variety of guises. Mines are also a problem - try not to step on them.
The graphics are so detailed and so many baddies pile onto you at once, that it's sometimes difficult to tell exactly what's going on. The graphics make imaginative use of the Amiga's palette if anything they may be slightly overdone. Practically everything's a different colour and there are some breathtaking backdrops. The music is lump-in-the-throat-inducing. Another point worthy of note is the Editor. Not our own (although he may be very noteworthy indeed), but Onslaught's map editor which allows you to alter the state of Gargore at will.
Although initially Onslaught's appeal seems to lie in its adventure game setting and the pseudo-strategy bit with the map, it's really a shoot 'em up through and through. And a darned good one too. Hewson has once again come up with a cunning interfusion of violence, variety and graphical fabness which, while it hardly breaks any moulds, certainly looks different. Above all Onslaught is a fun game to play and should certainly fend off Old Father Time admirably.
Dunc: Here's a mildly interesting fact - I actually own a suit of armour. It dates from about 1200 AD. The reason I mention owning this medieval piece of kit is this: every time a 'knights to battle' type game comes up, I don the metal garment before playing. Firstly it helps me 'get into the atmosphere' of the proceedings and secondly, it lets me know how accurate the in-game 'clang' effects of steel against steel are. When the computer goes 'clang', I quickly pick up a hammer and strike my leggings, comparing the two notes. So how do the in-game clangs of Onslaught ST match up to the real McCoy? Rather well actually, which for me is always a bonus - and it ups the total score by one point. But what about the rest of the game though?
Well, Onslaught claims to be an arcade/strategy game. And, to a certain extent, that's what it is - you have to read the manual to know what you're doing and you have to spend a little bit of time working out your route on the map-screen. Essentially though. Onslaught is a horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up (well, a series of horizontally scrolling shoot 'em ups actually). And, my word, what a shoot 'em up it is. I haven't been attacked by so many things in such a short a space of time since I rather foolishly entered the local Mosque wearing a pair of muddy Doctor Martins and an 'I know where Salman Rushdie's hiding, but I'm not telling you lot' T-shirt.
There's an almost infinite number of sprites in Onslaught, and they're all trying to kill you. Luckily, you can obtain power-up icons (to help you fight back), which come in the form of different coloured shields and scrolls. Aha, colour. The game has been crammed with every single colour known to man This, along with the way everything moves rather speedily, makes for some confusion and that's on the flashy office-monitor screen. If your ST happens to be attached to a ropey old TV set (like mine is at home) then things are going to be even more bewildering.
Confusing colouring aside though, it must be said that Onslaught has got absolutely tremendous graphics, and they're animated nicely too (plus there's brilliant sound). However, the arcade action is actually too frenzied and cluttered, and the weapons-select system is a bit awkward. I may not have the quickest reactions in the country, but I'm not totally useless. (He is actually. Ed). Basically, Onslaught is too hard. Much too hard. Slow the pace down (or remove 20 per cent of the sprites) and you'd have a really decent game but as it stands not all of you are going to get very far. Gripes aside though, it's not at all bad -but then you don't expect bad games from Hewson. Right, now to get out of this bloody suit of armour. Got a tin-opener anybody?
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