|Classification:||Game / Adventure Shooter|
|Developer:||Trevor Storey & Achim Volkers|
Psytronik has been pretty busy, this first half of 2018. In this review, I take a look at their most recent release, Organism, by Trevor Storey & Achim Volkers.
In this game, your mission is to contain the spread of a dangerous alien organism by setting the self-destruct mechanism of the ill fated space vessel, the Heracles, and get aboard an escape pod for pick-up by “the company”. Sounds familiar? Well, it's really no secret that this a shoot-em-up adventure game based on the movie, Aliens.
The object of the game is to explore the twenty six decks and dozens of rooms and corridors of the Heracles, collecting dog tags of your fallen crew members, as well as gather data from the ship's terminals to find out what caused the disaster on-board. In order to access the terminals, you need to find data disks, which you use to activate the terminals. You also need to find access cards, which allow you to enter sections of the ship that have been otherwise sealed off.
Along your adventure, you may also discover weapon upgrades to help you fight off the onslaught of never-ending waves of alien organisms. These organisms come in three forms, the spider-like “face huggers”, the adult alien soldier drone, and infected former crew members. The face huggers are fast moving, and if they grab a-hold of you, you need to do some fancy footwork to shake them off of you, before they sap all of your health. However, they are the easiest to kill, relatively speaking.
The soldier drones can do a lot of damage and are more difficult to dispatch without upgrades to your rifle. The drones have different strength levels, depicted by their coloring. The lower you venture into the ship, the more difficult these drones become. Weapon upgrades are definitely required in order to survive the deeper you go into the ship.
Then there's the infected crew members, which you must encounter, if you are to collect their dog tags. They are not too difficult to kill, but they move quickly and are usually found in very confined quarters. Thankfully, though, after they have been killed, they usually drop health packs to help you regain your strength.
In order to help you in your objectives, you start the game with a pretty basic rifle. You hold the fire button down for continuous fire, but at this point, it isn't very fast. As you upgrade the rifle, the auto-fire gets faster. The nice thing is, it never runs out of ammunition. Another nice feature is that, while you hold the fire button down, you can use strafing fire (that is move in all directions while maintaining gunfire in one direction) to help wipe out the waves of organisms running towards you. I've also found it very useful to use strafing fire when entering a room full of face hugger eggs. I begin firing, while in the adjacent room, then walk forward into the “egg room”. This give me the jump on those nasty face huggers as they begin to hatch and attempt to overwhelm my player.
You also have a status bar, which displays your state of health, a proximity “radar” scope, and an inventory readout of the items you've collected. The “radar” scope is a rudimentary location map, giving you the general direction that you need to go to collect the items you're looking for. You are also given a status readout, which informs you what items are available to collect for that particular section of the ship. This I found to be very useful, as it's pretty easy to lose track of what sections/decks that have already been explored. Not every deck has the necessary items to access the terminals and sections contained within in it. Sometimes you need to use terminal disks and access cards that are found on other decks of the ship.
Overall, I think the game is pretty good. The atmosphere of the game is spot on, and you can tell that a lot of work and effort went in to creating this game. The mechanics are smooth and responsive, and the action can get intense. Where it falls short for me, is the story; it isn't very deep and the game play can get monotonous after a while. You do get a brief change of pace, via a puzzle game you play when attempting to “hack” a data terminal. But, it would have been nice to get a variation or two to the game play (like a change of weapons or armor), or perhaps a few places that required you to use some strategy here and there, rather than simply blasting away continuously re-spawning baddies.
The game also needs a check point or save state routine; like perhaps when ever you use an elevator. Having to play this through in one sitting is a little much, at least for me. I know, I can use the “save snapshot” feature of my VICE emulator, but I really do like to play my games on my real C64 or C128, when I have the chance.
Apart from these minor gripes, I think that Organism is an excellent addition to the collection and is another reason to support the gang over at Psytronik. It is well worth the five dollars download price. You can find a copy for yourself by going to Psytronik's website, here: http://www.psytronik.net/newsite/index.php/c64/98-organism.