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A time traveler from the future was stranded in Victorian England, and his knowledge of yet unknown technological inventions was passed to the Royal Society, headed by Baron Fortesque. With the help of this knowledge, Fortesque managed to construct an immensely complex artificial intelligence known as the Chaos Engine. However, creation rebelled against its creator, assimilated its mind, and turned Britain into a war zone populated by mad machines. Mercenaries are willing to enter this dangerous place and put an end to the chaos, hoping for an appropriate reward.

Chaos Engine (Soldiers of Fortune in the US) is a run-and-gun overhead shooter. Sixteen levels (in four groups of four) await the players in the game. The basic gameplay is similar to Gauntlet, but in an open air setting, with bridges across rivers and other features in the maps. The visuals are in the 'metallic and blue' style Bitmap Brothers appeared to favor.

There are six characters available in the game, each with different strengths and weaknesses, and different starting prices. In two-player mode each player chooses a character and plays co-operatively, but in one-player games the player also chooses a character for the computer to control, with its artificial intelligence allowing it to open doors, pick up power-ups and take on enemies away from the ones occupying the player-controlled character.


Soldiers of Fortune Genesis Shoot all the nodes to open the exit
Soldiers of Fortune Atari ST Title screen
Soldiers of Fortune Genesis Keys open the path
Soldiers of Fortune Genesis Title screen (European version)

Promo Images

Soldiers of Fortune Screenshot
Soldiers of Fortune Screenshot
Soldiers of Fortune Screenshot
Soldiers of Fortune Screenshot

Alternate Titles

  • "The Chaos Engine" -- European / Alternate US title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The Bitmaps' latest classic in 16 bits. Atari ST G'Kyl (53)
A Steam-powered, Victorian Age Run-n-gun. SNES So Hai (371)
A great game Amiga Katakis | カタキス (42000)
If you enjoy games like Metal Slug and Contra, you'll love The Chaos Engine. SNES Tashtego (156)
Fortune for soldiers Genesis Liam Dowds (51)
Pumping with action and keeps you amused for ages. DOS Nathan Walker (5)
Bitmap Brothers - the recyclers Windows ZeTomes (36450)

Critic Reviews

High Score Amiga CD32 Jun, 1994 5 out of 5 100
Player One SNES Jul, 1994 94 out of 100 94
Amiga Power Amiga CD32 Jun, 1994 91 out of 100 91 Genesis Jan 31, 2006 9 out of 10 90
Gambler Amiga Jan, 1994 90 out of 100 90
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Amiga Mar, 1993 90 out of 100 90
16bit Genesis 2004 88 out of 100 88
Power Play DOS Aug, 1994 86 out of 100 86
Amiga Joker Amiga Dec, 1993 85 out of 100 85
Play Time Genesis Jul, 1994 79 out of 100 79


Topic # Posts Last Post
Level Editor released + first custom level 1 lilalurl (732)
Jun 26, 2010



Shortly after the game's release, Renegade took out a full page advert in trade magazine CTW, which simply said "The Chaos Engine. So good, even that bastard Stuart Campbell liked it", referring to a British journalist who had a habit of not liking much-hyped games, including previous Bitmap Brothers titles Xenon 2 and Gods, but gave this one a great review. Ironically Campbell later worked for CTW (as of 2004).


The original beta version (as seen on TV in many countries) was a three player game (not two).

German index

On March 31, 1995, The Chaos Engine was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.


A quote from the manual addendum lying in the game box:
Please note - In order to continue the time-honoured Bitmap Brothers tradition of mucking around with the password system at the last minute, The Chaos Engine now only awards passwords at the end of every world rather than after every Equipment Screen.


Version differences

  • In both the SNES and Genesis versions of the game which are named Soldiers of Fortune, the game's ending credits still call it The Chaos Engine.
  • In the console versions the Preacher was changed into a Scientist due to Sega and Nintendo having a policy of censoring any religious material in games for their consoles.


  • Amiga Joker
    • Issue 02/1994 – #2 Best Genre Mix in 1993 (Readers' Vote)
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/1994 – Best Multiplayer Game in 1993
Information also contributed by Johnny "ThunderPeel2001" Walker, Martin Smith, Timo Takalo, WildKard and Xoleras

Related Web Sites

Contributed to by kametyken (34), firefang9212 (74071), Kabushi (256615), MAT (222026), Katakis | カタキス (42000), Derrick 'Knight' Steele (2419) and Rantanplan (1815)