ANIMATED graphics are making an appearance in more and more computer games, giving them a realism which would not have seemed possible a few years ago. Death Chase uses animated graphics to simulate the view from a motor-cycle. The player moves on it through trees, chasing other riders and occasionally spotting tanks or helicopters. Speed and direction are both realistically simulated, so much so that the inevitable crash comes as a worrying shock.
Other riders cross the player's field of vision, weaving back and forth, but never out of sight for long. It is impossible to overtake those riders; they cannot fire at you they cannot escape unless you crash. It is at those harmless, realistically-drawn characters that the player must shoot to kill. No longer is it angular-looking invaders which are being killed. They are convincingly-drawn humans who must be killed just as ruthlessly and just as pointlessly. Their deaths are neat; no mangled remains are shown to trouble the player's conscience. The player is practically immortal, with three lives per game, and an indefinite number of games to be played.
After shooting a few riders it is tempting to dismount and talk to them. Of course that it is not possible - this is - an if-it-moves-shoot-it type game, not an adventure. Still, it is to be hoped that there will be a time when realism does not consist solely of creating more convincing victims, but in creating an environment where players face the consequences of their actions and killing people is not the only option.
Death Chase is produced by Micromega, 230-236 Lavender Hill, London SW11 1LE.