Following our look at the 8-bit versions of Laser Squad – as part of our Laser Squad week special – we now take a look at the 16-bit versions of the game along with the videogaming magazine’s views at the time…
Amiga/Atari ST (1990)
Obviously, the 16-bit versions have notably better graphics, with full use of the respective machine’s colour and sprite capabilities. While not a huge impact on the game itself, each scenario is introduced with a static rendered image reflecting the mission ahead. The Amiga and Atari ST versions were also outsourced to Teque Software Development, who did an excellent job in porting the original game.
‘Amiga Format Gold’ – “The game system is simple but very effective and it doesn’t take long to get to grips with. The seven difficulty levels for most scenarios will keep you playing against the computer – which takes no prisoners – for a long time. Laser Squad is a terrific game that is superbly playable and can definitely be recommended as one for the library of any gameplayer.” – 93%, Andy Smith, Amiga Format issue 5, December 1989.
‘CU Screen Star’ – “Essentially, Amiga Laser Squad bar from some improved graphics and its extremely atmospheric sound effects is identical to the 8-bit game. Laser Squad is excellent, although I can’t help but feel slightly put out by the lack of improvement to the original. But if you’re somebody who likes the idea of plenty of over-the-top violence, explosions and some thinking you won’t go far wrong with this little baby.” – 87%, Mark Patterson, CU Amiga-64, November 1989.
‘Golden Scroll’ – “Although initially similar to Omnitrend’s Breach, it’s soon apparent that Laser Squad blows Breach clean out of the water. It is far superior in every way… movement and action in eight directions, the variety of fire, delayed explosions, close combat, etc. There can be no doubt that Laser Squad is the best tactical strategy game on the Amiga at the moment. It is a strong candidate for the best strategy game of any sort on the Amiga!” – The Games Machine issue 26, January 1990.
“In terms of tactics, realism and the way your troops interact with each other and their equipment, Laser Squad is very true to life, although enjoyment is slightly limited by the small number of scenarios. A good attempt to produce a role-playing game, combining graphics, gameplay and realism.” – 84%, Lucinda Orr, Amiga Computing vol. 2 no 10, March 1990.
“The combat system is among the most exciting I’ve used, allowing for some very sophisticated strategies to be employed… With each game lasting several hours, and the release of further scenario disks, Laser Squad certainly offers great value for money to fans of the wargame genre, and I’m convinced that many people who have previously considered wargames to be too boring, will find themselves pleasantly surprised by this highly playable release.” – 8/10, M.B., Amiga User International vol. 3 no 12, December 1989.
“I kept getting the impression that I was playing a Spectrum game on an Amiga monitor. Nothing’s changed. Okay, so there’s been a dab of colour here and there, and the odd sample clash of thunder in the background but I couldn’t help thinking ‘Where’s the Amiga?’ However, Laser Squad still remains a brilliant game, even though the Amiga could probably sit back, have a cigarette and clean out the fluffy bits between its toes while running the game. I think half the attraction of the game is the suspense element (“What’s awaiting round the corner? Where’s Keith Chegwin”) and the intellectual ego-massage you can give yourself when you do finally defeat the computer (who plays a mean game). Laser Squad has that elusive blend of excitement, challenge and addictiveness all mashed into one. Definitely on the short list for all time classics and definitely the best strategy game you’ll find in the shops today.” – 88%, David McCandless, Zero issue 2, December 1989, page 53 and 54.
Weblink: Amiga Laser Squad page at LemonAmiga
With a mouse driven interface, the DOS version feels totally different to the others. Certainly, the icons, which replace the menu driven interface, take a bit of getting used to. Each scenario is also presented by an impressive intro sequence detailing the back-story. Visuals are even more impressive than the 16-bit computers, with high-res graphics and backgrounds. Gameplay is smooth and quick, especially using the mouse. One frustrating aspect of the game, however, is when purchasing armour and weapons before the game. Scrolling up and down the weapons screen can be annoyingly sluggish. Other than that, a very fine conversion of Laser Squad.