The plot of Awesome has you and the crew of the Elapidae arriving for a spot of trading in the Octarian system, only to find it's scheduled for obliteration by the Homikahn and their dreaded Promethean cannon. In true gameplay tradition, this apparently serves as a convenient excuse to destroy anything in your path while making your escape. This isn't as easy as it sounds, because fuel is both a rare and expensive commodity. It can only be obtained by fulfilling contracts, missions and, should the opportunity arise, raiding convoys.
Most sections of the game are seen from directly above and use a rotational scrolling technique akin to Rotox but far smoother and in an almost infinite number of directions. The controls take a while to get used to and at times the action becomes just a bit too hectic, this is mainly due to the large size of your ship and could have been rectified if all the screen had been used.
Arrival at any planetary destination changes the view to a 3-D perspective. Here you must eliminate a Space Serpent before getting to a landing site. This part moves extremely fast and looks good but is rather hard to play. Once past the serpent, you have a time limit in which you must find the landing pad. This, along with the next section, reverts to the the original overhead view and is important because the number of meanies you destroy here affect the oxygen supply you have when finally searching for the entrance. Inside you have the option to buy weapons (which range from Sonic Mining Lasers to Wide-Beam Plasma Cannons) and sell any cargo you have acquired, demand varies so you should look for a good deal.
Once down, you can access a Navcom terminal, whereupon you are presented with a view of the solar system. Here you must decide whether to leave now (and save money on hotel bills) or wait until the orbits bring your target planet closer, a little brain power is required here as without careful planning you could find yourself stuck on a planet with no way to get off.
With eight planets each with its own theme, Aquoss (water), Morb (dead), Volcurn (Lava) etc., the game provides a long term challenge. The graphics really do impress, with a wide variety of colourful, well shaded sprites which, along with the smooth scrolling, make the game visually very attractive. The sound, on the other hand, is a little weak in comparison and although there are some good tunes they're not as good as Beast 1. There aren't enough spot effects either. Minor niggles aside, Awesome proves to be one of Psygnosis' strongest games yet.
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