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Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Review - Botkiller 2

Review - Botkiller 2

Posted by Tim Fountain on 00:00, 30/10/2000 | , ,


Puzzle based platformer from Artex Software/Wag Software. Reviewed by Tim Fountain and Simon Jones.


A screenshot from the
intro sequence
Botkiller 2 follows on from the success of Jan Klose's freeware game Botkiller which was released last year. The sequel has been completely re-written, and the graphics have been improved so much if you put the two side by side you would hardly know they were related.
The game comes on one high density disc, supplied, rather bizarrely, in a CD-Rom case. It will work on any machine with RISC OS 2 or above, 4MB of RAM and a hard disc drive.
After a couple of logos, loading the game presents you with a short animation sequence. The sequence consists of a helicopter which flies across the screen and drops the main game character onto a platform below. I was a bit disappointed with this, as it does not provide you with any form of explanation of the game plot, and after you've seen it once...
ScreenshotThe title screen is quite nice, as is the help screen which explains the major game features. I also must say how much I like the interface that is used in the game. The pseudo-3D display gives you all the information you need, without getting in the way.
The object of the game is to save SpaceTronic Inc. from a variety of robots which are dotted round the levels. This is made far more complicated and enjoyable by the wide variety of in-game elements such as lifts, teleporters, key activated doors, deadly beams and so on. There are also level consoles which can activate or deactivate them. The levels have all been designed extremely cleverly, and it's not just a case of going from A to B, you'll frequently have to double back on yourself to use a key you've just collected, or return to the console to reactivate the teleporters.
ScreenshotUnfortunately, herein lies my main criticism of the game. The character walks so slowly, that you'll often find yourself sitting in front of your computer with one finger on the Z key, staring aimlessly around the room waiting for him to reach the other side of the level.
I don't think this alone should deter anyone from buying this game, but I found it made the game difficult to play for long periods at a time.
The music isn't too bad, although if you've read any of my reviews in the past you'll know I'm not a big fan of in-game music, so I'm probably not the best person to judge. The sound effects are nothing to write home about, but are perfectly adequate. I was a little disappointed to find that the sound options are limited to 'Sound ON/OFF', and a volume control. There is no way to switch off the in-game music whilst keeping the sound effects, so I had to settle for turning the overall volume down low.
The in-game graphics aren't bad either. There are lots of little touches which set it above your average platformer, such as the 'eyes' set into the level scenery which open up and follow you around the screen, or the way the character turns into the shop doors.
ScreenshotOverall, this is a lovely little platformer. The slow character movement is my only real criticism of the gameplay. There are lots of things to keep you busy - the puzzles get progressively harder as the game progresses, and trying to work out how to get to the blue key or how to get past the silver flying robot without dying is enough to make you play again and again. There are also a variety of different weapons and bonuses which you find or can purchase from the game shop.
If you liked Botkiller, you'll love Botkiller 2, and if you like a puzzle element in your games BK2 should be top of your list.



ScreenshotWhen Artex released the first BotKiller platform game as freeware, it received much praise and prompted this, the imaginatively titled BotKiller 2. The plot is essentially the same as in the original - you control a guy in combats wandering about with a gun and have to wipe out the nasty robots rampaging about the levels, at the same time manipulating the use of the lifts and electricity beams to solve puzzles and gain access to new areas - only on a much larger scale.
Each level is now considerably larger than the single-screen designs of the original, and the level scrolls about smoothly as you move your character about the place. Unfortunately, it is at this early point in playing the game that a serious flaw in the main character's design becomes apparent - he walks so damn slow. Whilst in the original this was no great problem, with the enlarged levels of the sequel it quickly becomes extremely tedious wandering from one end of the level to the other.
ScreenshotOther than this, the game is remarkably entertaining. Figuring out the puzzles and finding hidden areas keeps a certain form of the 'just-one-more-go' factor playing in your mind. The graphics range from very good (the blue guard robots, for example, which appear to be in pseudo-3D), to disappointing (for example, when you change weapons, the gun in your hand appears identical). The graphics succeed for the most part, although sometimes there seems to be a clash between atmospherics (e.g. the nastier robots and the explosions) and cartoonesque traditional platformer design (the main character and the brightly-lit nature of the levels).
The sound is fairly unremarkable. The music is decent compared to the usual platformer cheese, but isn't the sort of stuff you'll be wanting to turn your speakers up for. The in-game sound effects are pretty good, but are unfortunately minimal and somewhat bizarrely chosen. Whilst your (extremely slow walking) character makes annoying little footstep sounds everytime he goes anywhere, the big heavy guard robots are inexplicably silent as they race about the place, as are most of the other robots I encountered.
The shop. Artex's answer
to Lara Croft?
There are several nice touches in BotKiller 2 that set it apart from the usual platformer. Small things, such as the transparent explosions (which should perhaps be a little more solid...?) and the computer terminal screens which expand out of the level to fill your own screen. However, these little details often serve only to highlight how the rest of the sound and graphics are somewhat unimaginative. In light of these small details, glaring omissions such as the apparent inability to turn the music off without turning off the sound effects off as well shine out like a beacon. Things such as the fact that your bullets barely travel faster then you do (and remember, this character walks slowly) and that doors never quite open in time for you to pass nicely through them also serve to irritate.
Despite all this, BotKiller 2 is undeniably rather fun to play. It just lacks the excitement or connecting plot of platformers such as Flashback, which makes you keep trying to get that little bit further. Consequently, when you get stuck on a level, there may not be quite enough pulling factor to make you continue to play the game.
The game is fairly cheap compared to most other commercial releases available currently, and represents good value for money. Don't expect anything particulary revolutionary and you'll find it a lightly entertaining game.


To sum up

The good...
  • Slickly produced
  • Good level design
  • Graphics and 'nice touches'
  • Lightly entertaining
  • Price and compatibility
...the bad
  • Character moves far too slowly
  • Limited game options
  • Intro sequence
  • Limited range of sound effects


Rating: GOODRating: OKRating: GOOD

WWW:Wag's website
Post:Wag Software
5 Queens Close
East Markham
Nr. Newark
NG22 0QY

  Review - Botkiller 2
  (18:10 19/11/2005)
SION Message #87886, posted at 18:10, 19/11/2005
Unregistered user Glad This Is Now FreeWare It's Quite good!!
  ^[ Log in to reply ]

Acorn Arcade forums: News and features: Review - Botkiller 2