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SummaryAn inventive and enjoyable, if over-rated, rival to Project X
The GoodVisually the whole thing is impressive, with a look all of its own and some amazing scenery in multiple layers of parallax – unusually, the front layer is in front of the playfield, so your view is occasionally obstructed by rogue sunflowers and the like. The dead rat as an end-of-level bad guy is superb. It all makes a change from the usual space setting of R-Type style shooters.
There are numerous power-ups available, selected with a system of collecting tokens which can be traded in for gradually better weapons – a support drone is the most original of these.
Controls are responsive and the weaponry on offer is impressive. Like all of Blue Byte's games (Play Byte was an offshoot of the company), precise detail has been applied for originality, subtle cuteness and attention to detail. Some of the enemies you face are very unusual, and move in genuinely surprising attack patterns
The whole thing is also very user-friendly, feeling more like a console game than some of the shoddier Amiga releases of the time. The range of options on offer, including support for multi-button joysticks and all manner of sound tests, is an example of this.
The difficulty curve is about right, with none of the unforeseen deaths of some blasters, or the tediously empty sections of some others.
The BadFew of the power-ups really take advantage of the different setting, and are similar to what Xenon 2 had.
In many of the bonus games, too many points are on offer, and at times 80% of my score came from not actually shooting things.
Annoyingly, the options reset after each go, and there’s no option to turn off the (admittedly generally pleasant) music, or a software auto fire mode.
The Bottom LineThe title is Latin for insect (explaining why Apiaries contain insects and not apes), which gives you a clue as to the setting for this R-Type style horizontally-scrolling shoot ‘em up.
Instead of a clichéd science-fiction or military styling, you’re playing a guy who’s been turned into a wasp – curiously, Psygnosis had the same idea at the same time with Agony (in which you play an owl) but this is a far better game.
The enemies are quite individual, including maggots, venom-shooting flies, crawling caterpillars and even a dead rat as an end-of-level nasty. A bit of rounded design and slightly less frustrations would’ve pushed this one over the top into being a classic, but it’s still worth playing, with great visuals and a well-balanced difficulty curve.