Beyond used to be known for quality software, but in recent times, it has rather let things go. Superman was the start of the slippery slide, then some internal changes, and a takeover by BT resulted in the company maintaining a very low profile.
This Christmas - with the release (maybe, maybe) of the much publicised Star Trek, which has had some very favourable murmurings - sees the start of the Great Beyond Fightback. A sort of Beyond-come-back-from-the- beyond scenario.
In the meantime, it has released a compilation tape of four games from its more illustrious past, and until Captain Kirk bursts upon our screens, that will have to do for now.
Of the four, Sorderons Shadow is certainly the weakest and I, personally, dislike it intensely. It is a graphic adventure that has a split screen. One for the graphics and one for a 'text' window from whence you give and receive information. The game objective is to kill Sorderon but you can only do this if you have the scroll of Dorian, which you can only get if you complete the nine tasks of the unnamed one, who shall remain nameless (or is that one of the nine tasks?) The game wasn't a success and I thought it lacked atmosphere.
Shadowfire and Enigma Force, which pioneered the use of icons in adventures are both great fun to play and are based around the Enigma team, who are a band of mercenaries who each possess different special abilities that need to be used in order to win the games.
Shadowfire - which was the original release chronicles the rescue of Ambassador Kryxix from within the spaceship of General Zoff. Capture the evil General and destroy the ship within one hour and forty game minutes. By the use of icons, which control the whole game, you have to deploy the Enigma team around the ship using weapons, picking locks and generally using your strategic prowess in the most effective way.
Enigma Force was an interesting sequel. Once again icons are used to drive the game, but this time the action unfolds on screen and you see the team members actually going about their work - something missing in Shadowfire. The story continues from the original. Your ship whilst carrying the Ambassador back, has come under fire from Zoff's forces. You crash-land on a strange planet and find that in the ensuing mayhem, the Ambassador has disappeared. Your mission is to locate his whereabouts (again!;.
Last, and by no means least, comes the marvellous Doomdark's Revenge, Mike Singleton's awesome sequel to Lords of Midnight. The gameplay is practically similar to LOM with the exceptions that this time you can enter some of the buildings you come across, and the locations have been increased to six thousand with forty-eight thousand different panoramic views! Very dramatic, very big and very good.
If you always fancied getting these games but could never raise enough dosh - now's your chance. I strongly recommend this compilation.
Reviewer: Andy Moss
Four-in-one from Beyond. Three are first class, brilliant and so on. Strongly recommended batch from the hayday of the label.