Cyberdyne system's C64 blaster was probably the most accomplished game ever to grace the little beige suitcase's screen. Featuring six stages of frantic action, set against some simply stunning bas-relief backdrops, the C64 Armalyte won itself a legion of fans, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, though, the same classic status cannot be bestowed upon this Amiga 'enhancement'.
The story behind the game's development has more twists and turns than an episode of falcon crest, with the game originally in the hands of Steve Northcot and Ian Harling who consequently left the project mid-development. The job was the farmed out to arc developments who were given a free reign as to what to put in the game. The resulting effort is a give-stage blast, which abandons the bas-relief favored by its C64 step-father and opts for a series of organic and stone levels. In addition, the two-player mode of the first game is another casualty, so now it's just you against the many waves of would-be space flotsam.
Armalyte is typical horizontally-scrolling fare, with the player guiding their futuristic ship through winding and deadly mazes. Occupying each of these stages are the aforementioned alien invaders, and these must be destroyed using your ship's array of weapons which include an R-Type-style beam weapon. To boost these pathetic armaments, though, a series of blue orbs line the route and, when shot, they reveal a tiny icon. This endows the craft with rear and side-mounted shots but is lost should the ship come a cropper and lose one of its three lives. When a level has been traversed, standing between you and the next stage is a massive 'boss' creature, designed to blend in with the level's graphical theme. Then, once again, its time to take out before it rids you of your supply of lives.
Now, while all this doesn't sound particularly inspiring, it is the graphical finesse that sets Armalyte apart from the rest. The backdrops feature acid-dripping spirals and huge gaseous swarms that burst out from nowhere. These creatures aren't just there for their looks, and avoiding them and their flak is essential if any progress is to be made. However, these graphical enhancements fail to add a certain spark to the game's tried and tested gameplay and, with the likes of Z-out leading the way in the horizontally-scrolling area, Armalyte comes across as a second division blaster.
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