PRODUCT NAME Llamatron 1.0 BRIEF DESCRIPTION Llamatron is a totally spaced-out shoot'em up game in the vein of the classic William's arcade machine "Robotron" for one or two players. To quote from the accompanying ReadMe file: "Llamatron takes the Robotron idea and distorts it in a Yakly fashion, adding loads of new stuff and plenty of furry beasties in the Llamasoft style." AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION Name: LLamasoft Address: 49, Mount Pleasant Tadley Hants RG26 6BM United Kingdom Telephone: ++44 7356 4478 SHAREWARE FEE The author requests you send in 5 Pounds Sterling (UK) or more. SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS HARDWARE None. There are two versions of the game: one for 512 KB and one for 1 MB or more of Chip RAM. Llamatron works fine in both 68000 and 68030 mode. I was not able to test compatibility with the 68040. David Kinder reported that it works on the A1200. SOFTWARE To be able to run LLamatron on Kickstart 2.x and 3.0 systems or in 68020 or 68030 mode, you'll need the archive "fixllama.lha" from the "games/patch" directory of the Aminet ftp site. You might also need the VBR utility (included in this review) or something similar to reset the vector base register of your CPU to the start of Chip RAM. Beware: there are hacked versions of Llamatron floating about. To use the patch, you'll need the original archive which contains two loaders and two data files. You can find a suitable archive on the AB20 or AMINET_0693 CD-ROM discs, in "AB20/GAMES/ACTION". The hacked version included on Almathera's Demo CD-ROM will not work. COPY PROTECTION None. Llamatron will boot just fine off a floppy disk or load from hard disk. I was even able to compress the main game file using the XPK package, which saved me approximately 100 KB of disk space. MACHINE USED FOR TESTING My test setup includes: o Amiga 2000, ECS chipset, Kickstart 2.04, Workbench 2.1 o Commodore A2630 68030 accelerator with 4 MB of 32-bit memory o Picasso II graphics card REVIEW Jeff 'The Yak' Minter has been a household name since the golden age of home computing, back when the Commodore 64 was a hot machine. He always used to perplex players by taking a completely sane game idea and twisting it until it had become totally crazy. Llamatron fits this description quite nicely. It's the basic Robotron game, with you buzzing around trying to fend off hordes of meanies and saving your proteges in the process. But as things turn out, you're not a super-hero, but a fast spitting llama, and you're up against enemies like phone booths, cigarette papers and screaming Mandelbrot sets. The game can be played by one or two players, and one or two joysticks can be utilized in one player mode. Using one joystick, you move around spitting in your current direction, and you can lock this direction by pressing the fire button. Using both joysticks, you can play in the original Robotron mode, where one joystick controls your movements while the other directs your fire. For beginners, there is a "droid" mode in which a computer player assists you. The basic rule of the game is: "If it moves, shoot it, and if it doesn't move, it's an obstacle that must be destroyed". An exception to this rule are the various beasties waiting to be saved by you. Move close to one of them, and it'll follow you, and you'll get extra firepower for a short time. Saving the last beastie on the screen will give you a three-way firepower extra. If collecting the extra is the last thing you do in a level, it'll be awarded to you in the next level. All levels start out with you at the center of the screen, and various meanies out there to catch you. Blast all of them into oblivion, and you'll advance to the next level. Your goal is to advance to level 99 and destroy the Ozric Tentacle to get to Herd Heaven on level 100. As you progress, you'll encounter certain types of level over and over again. On the "Herd Levels", you'll have to try and save your beasties from the evil brains that turn them into yucky mutant beasts. On "Rain levels", you'll have to catch all of the floating umbrellas to stop the rain while dodging the usual set of adversaries. Do well, and you'll be rewarded much-needed extras, like super firepower, bouncing missiles, and (above all) extra lives. Difficulty in the starting levels is low, but it increases steadily. Almost everybody manages to get to level 5 once they've familiarized themselves with the control, and after a few games they're possibly up at level 10. Beyond that, it starts to get nasty, and by level 25, it's sheer murder. The graphics are well done, by Commodore 64 standards. On the Amiga, they're definitely nothing to write home about. From the first instant, you'll be able to tell that this game wasn't done by Psygnosis. But then, this doesn't matter at all, since while playing you don't have the time to look at them anyways. Zap and blast effects are plentiful, however. The sound is limited to sound effects in demo mode and while playing the game. Jeff recommends to turn it up loud! You might give it a try if you want to drive your neighbors (roommates, parents, etc.) up the wall. It's what you'd expect from a twisted brain: screams and moans and explosions, and even a bleating sheep. If you add it all up, you get a fiendishly difficult shoot'em up with average graphics and some strange sound effects. And yet, it all combines to make a very addictive game that keeps you glued to the computer until somebody arrives and demands that you stop the awful racket you're making. Maybe it's the Minter factor that makes us return to this game again and again. DOCUMENTATION The original archive contains a large "ReadMe" file written by Jeff Minter. Besides the basic game instructions, it contains Jeff's explanation of why games look the way they do, and much plain rambling. If you're into that kind of stuff, you'll surely enjoy it. The "fixllama" archive contains detailed instructions on how to apply the patch. Basically, you're just installing new loader programs. LIKES AND DISLIKES Llamatron takes over the Amiga completely, which is fundamentally evil from today's point of view. Expect to get into big trouble if you run Llamatron while other applications are writing to a disk. Highscores aren't saved, so you'll have to resort to Polaroid pictures if you want to record them for posterity. Having Llamatron run unter the OS would sure be nice, but I just can't imagine Jeff Minter writing OS compliant code. And since he's quite possibly off to program the Jaguar or the soon-to-be released Cray XMP handheld, don't expect him to rewrite Llamatron using the lowlevel.library. COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS If you're interested in other interpretations of the basic "Robotron" theme, check out "Marketroid" on AmigaLibDisk (Fish Disk) 155. It's Leo Schwab's entry for the 1987 BADGE "Killer Demo" Contest, and it's still fun to watch. And yes, this runs fine on a 68030 Amiga running OS 2.04. After all those years! BUGS Llamatron doesn't open its own screen, but tries to grab the memory from the Workbench screen. If you're in PAL mode, everything is fine. If you run Llamatron from a NTSC Workbench, you can't see some of the bottom lines of the display. Using other display modes will quite possibly crash the program. I am using a special startup script that resets the VBR and switches to a standard PAL display before starting Llamatron to avoid trouble. Using a saved screenmode Prefs file, and the VBR utility, my script looks like: screenmode use palmode.prefs vbr >NIL: ? ; WARN if VBR is != 0 if warn vbr >NIL: ; toggle the VBR from Fast to Chip RAM endif ; and vice versa. This works quite nicely if no foreign windows are opened on the Workbench. Trying to switch screenmodes while there are non-Workbench windows on the Workbench screen will prohibit the display mode change, possibly resulting in a crash. The loader patches in the fixllama archives fix an incompatibility problem with Kickstart 2.0 and above. They were written by David Kinder. You can reach him on Internet as "firstname.lastname@example.org", or via conventional mail: David Kinder 2 Clwtt Cottages, Bangor Rd. Gyfelia, Nr. Wrexham Clwyd, LL13 0YL UNITED KINGDOM PATCHES Here is the "vbr" patch mentioned in the review, in uuencoded format. Extract everything from the "begin" to "end" (inclusive) and use the uudecode program on UNIX or the Fish Disks to create the executable vbr program. begin 777 vbr M```#\P`````````!``````````````"4```#Z0```)1(YX"`1_H`UD*3D\DL M>``$3J[^VBA`2JP`K&820>P`7$ZN_H!![`!<3J[^C":`0_H`
``$3J[^8B(Z`&QG$B\`+'@`!$ZN_WPB04ZN_H8@'TYU3-\!`6%28=XO`")Z M`$0L>``$3J[^8B`?3G5A 0!D;W,N;&EB 0``'`I!4E`@ M3&EB 2!V,SDK(&YE961E9"`A"@H``````````'H`+'@`!!(N`2D"`0`# M9@A!^@#(D\E@+DOZ`+1.KO_B#$```F8^#%`P"F
0```-A.KO\<2H5F!'``3G5P!4YU2H=F&'``3G4,;@`A M`!1D"$'Z`(J3R6#22H=G'"!'D\E\`&$\(D=P`#`\!`!.KO\N0?H`J)/)8+)P M`#`\!`!R`4ZN_SHL`&8(0?H`>I/)8)J1R")&80HN!D7Z`*1@`/]^<``P/`0` M3JD$OZ``Q.[O_B3GIX`4YS3GMH`4YS!S8X,#$P+S(P+S,P(')E86QL>2!N M965D960A"@``!U-O
Auswege: Impressum, Haftungsausschluß, Datenschutz, zurück zur Amiga-Seite, Meine Homepage.
Links: Imprint, back to the Amiga page, My Homepage.
Thomas Bätzler, Thomas@Baetzler.de$Id: llamatron.html 1.4 1995/11/17 09:12:34 thb Rel thb $