Added: 3 Jan 2010
Here comes the chopper!
THE VIOLENT scenario of TLL has been replaced by an altogether more humanitarian mission in the sequel, Cyclone. Rather than provide you with a swing-wing Tornado, Vortex has obtained a nippy little helicopter, and your task is not to bomb the bases but collect vital medical supplies in the face of a colossal hurricane.
The playing area is large, an expanse of ocean dotted with islands which are being evacuated. A map option shows the overall picture, and charts the centre of the cyclone, which can move around with frightening speed.
While the graphics are based firmly on the very successful TLL, with 3D-style landscapes and small houses, they are not as pleasing to the eye. The game has several new factors which, however, more than make up for the deficiency.
There is more animation; villagers on the islands wave at you, and the helicopter has a hook and line with which to winch up the crates of supplies. The rugged terrain of the islands may cause you to crash, but far more dangerous are the other aircraft on the flight lanes between the islands, and the cyclone itself. While producing no apparent effect on the landscape, if you stray too close to the epicentre it will buffet you this way and that. You will be lucky to escape with your life, let alone with sufficient fuel to make it to a landing pad.
An extra bonus is the option to view the landscape from both North and South. The crates of supplies will only be visible from one direction, so you must explore the coastline carefully to find the boxes. The minute danger threatens it is all too easy to forget which way you are heading and fly straight into the eye of the storm.
While offering less opportunity for flashy acrobatics than its predecessor, Cyclone presents more problems and is more satisfying to play. The graphics are still effective, if less complex, and the concept of battling against the weather as well as your own cackhandedness is novel and welcome.
CYCLONE Memory: 48K Price: £6.95 Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Protek Gilbert Factor: 8
Added: 27 Dec 2008
Vortex / £6.99
Roger: Whoopee! A game that starts with a helicopter take-off sequence and flight that I can actually manage without theoretical hospitalisation - that came later! Crashing programs on my own high-mileage equipment or, even worse, Peter Shaw's much-sabotaged and hybrid in-office recycleable Speccy was far more frustrating than launching Cyclone's rescue chopper in its urgent hunt for pain-relieving drugs.
This moderately three-dimensional saga requires pilotage of the aforesaid whirlybird in and around a seascape full of islands - don't worry, there is a map - to collect a vital five crates of medical supplies before the nasty cyclone upsets accident statistics, particularly those relating to, er, helicopter pilots. Don't be bored by the meteorological overtones, though, because we re not looking at weather forecast yawn quotients - this is what I call action!
Unoriginal it may be, but as one disaster area playing in another I can only claim to have had a good time ... 3/5
Ross: This is rather too similar to TLL, offering very little that's new. The playing area is more dispersed and there's some extra shading to show the cliffs. There are also some planes flying about, but so what! 0/5
Dave: Good use of the graphics techniques developed for TLL, but there doesn't seem to be enough going on to give it a really lasting appeal. 2/5
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