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SummaryA great game
The GoodThe Bitmap Brothers, a well-known game company based in the UK, produced good quality action games like Xenon 2: Megablast, Magic Pockets, Cadaver: The Payoff, and Gods, as well as this game, The Chaos Engine.
The story is self-explanatory enough. An experimenter with time space and early computers made a huge mistake of creating a bizarre machine, which he called “The Chaos Engine”. Soon the machine became very powerful and turned against its creator, causing a cloud of chaos to descend over the land and turning all humans and animals into beasts. And now The Chaos Engine must be destroyed in order to restore peace and beauty to the land.
Six mercenaries are offered the job: Mercenary, Brigand, Gentleman, Navvie, Thug, and Preacher. Each mercenary has their own advantages and disadvantages, and their own firepower. When players start the game, they have the choice of playing against the CPU or another player.
Once done, each player choose their mercenary. Whether that mercenary is good or not will depend on how much speed, wisdom, skill, health, and firepower they have got. Also each character has their own special attacks. For example, Gentleman can use maps to navigate his way through each level, while Navvie uses dynamite to blast enemies in a direction he is facing.
Once done, the game begins. Each player has low firepower and less speed, wisdom, health, and skill at the start, but can upgrade these after every second level, or obtain an extra life (with the maximum of 30). There are four worlds to complete with each world consisting of four levels, and each world has players navigating through forests, workshops, mansions, sewers, and cellars, and blasting beasts in the process. A password is given at the end of each world, which players can input that allows them to start at the beginning of a world.
The main objective of the game is to find and activate several nodes that are scattered through each level, and collect gold and silver keys that will cause bridges, a set of stairs, or secret passages to appear so that you can explore other parts of the level. The number of nodes you have to activate is listed in the middle of the status bar. Once all the nodes have been activated, the level exit is opened. In several levels, there is more than one exit, and players will end up at a different place in the next level, depending on the path they take through the level.
Normally, when players kill an enemy, the enemy will leave behind gold or silver coins, which can be used to upgrade both mercenaries. The number of coins that each player collects is displayed next to the number of nodes. Also there are more items that players can collect rather than just coins. If players collect a yin-yang at a point in the level, for example, they restart at that point if they die. There’s also food to collect that will award extra health, power-ups that will upgrade firepower, special attacks, and of course, extra lives. When a level is complete, a screen of statistics comes up telling how many enemies they’ve destroyed, the number of nodes activated, how many coins the party collected, how many gold and silver keys that were collected, and so on.
The graphics are great, and the sound effects in this game are awesome. The music in the Amiga version is much better than the DOS version. I like the fact that the music changes whenever you explore different areas of a level, because this way you don’t get sick and tired of hearing the same music over and over again.
The BadThis game can be difficult if neither of the mercenaries that were selected have the right firepower to take enemies down, especially the final boss. It isn’t easy to beat him, and may take you several hours to figure out how to beat him. It took me two days to find a tactic on how to beat him, and stick to it.