Nuclear Holocaust was writen by the co-founder of this site, Graham Crockford. Because of this and in the interests of impartiality, Matt Nicholls has reviewed the game. Matt is unconnected with this site and is, in fact, the news editor of another gaming site, Acorn Gaming '98.
I first discovered the early predecessor to Nuclear Holocaust, Holocaust
on Argonet FTP about a year ago. Since then, the game has come far,
with new graphics, sound, music, better redraws and eventually progressed
to Holocaust v2. Nuclear Holocaust is the latest update and it adds a lot
of welcome features to an already very playable game.
The front end is a nice addition to the game and allows you to alter
the various configurations options regarding screen mode and music.
It¸¹s also nice to see support for Interactive Help. It would be nice
to see more options which can be configured from the desktop, rather
than having to alter a lot of the configuration in game, but this
is a minor criticism. It also gets annoying when the front end quits
with the game.
Once you¸¹re in the game, depending on what you selected (I used a resolution of 640x480), you¸¹re presented with a clear title screen, a big improvement on the pixelated main menu of older versions of Holocaust. The main menu allows you to configure the sound and music within Nuclear Holocaust and turn trails from the weapons on or off. There are also a series of help screens, which are, in fact drawfiles from inside the !NucHolo directory. In older versions of Holocaust, these were much too pixelated to read from inside the game, but this isn¸¹t the case any more - the help screens, and pretty much everything else, are crystal clear.
Once you've set up your game to your liking, you can start your game. First you select up to 4 players (if you¸¹re desperate you can play your computer). Then each player selects his or her weapons from a long list of potential nasties. It would have been nice to see some new icons here, as the current ones look the same as the ones included in the earliest versions and are a bit out of place with the new hi-res graphics.
Once you¸¹ve dispensed with the formalities, you can get on and blow some stuff up. The gameplay consists of 2-4 tanks trying to blow the hell out of each other with the weapons that were selected earlier. Each player controls the position of their tank, their shield, parachutes and the angle and power of their shots. The gameplay is all done via a console at the top of the screen, and, despite the need for a bit of a hi-res facelift, the interface is pretty intuitive. I have the rather minor complaint that the tanks are a bit small at 640x480, but this means that it's possible to have a larger playing area.
The in-game sounds and music are, as with most of Holocaust, very professional.There seems to be a wider selection of music in the latest version than that oh-so-annoying Michael Jackson sample thingy in the older version. There are sounds for different explosions and the game even comes up with a different sample for each weapon.
Overall, Nuclear Holocaust is a very good game, and well worth the shareware registration fee. Despite a few minor niggles, which I'm sure will be cleared up in future versions, I'm hard pressed not to recommend Holocaust. I only hope development of the game continues, and we see more games of the very high standard which Holocaust sets. Maybe then the Acorn games scene will start to flourish again.
To sum up
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