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Army Moves

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Released: 1986

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: MSX I/II

Publisher: Imagine

Developer: Dinamic

Submitted by: Graham Tutt

I remember when I first bought Army Moves for my MSX: I think I spent more time disassembling the code to write my own cheats and locate the access number for the later levels of the game than I actually did playing it.

Army moves is a sideways scrolling shoot ‘em up that is quite literally a game of two halves. During the first four levels you drive a Jeep or pilot a fighter jet against some imaginary Nazi-alike enemy who possesses an impressive fleet of helicopters and Jeeps. You must destroy said helicopters and Jeeps while making your way to the end of the level without running out of fuel. You do however have a seemingly endless array of missiles available to you: surface to surface, surface to air, air to surface or air to air.

The game is repetitive, difficult and inconsistent. Whoever wrote the collision detection routines was quite clearly drunk or had instructions to “relax the rules a little” as this game would be impossible without the occasional harmless brush with an enemy helicopter.

The second set of levels, for which you need the access number I had to extract from the disassembled source code, places you on foot traversing some South American swamp. Your main enemies are birds (whom you can shoot to change the level at which they are flying), grenades lobbed casually from the jungle, and the swamp itself into which you can fall as you jump between patches of dry land. From the jungle you make your way through a large number of enemy soldiers to the head quarters of the evil mastermind behind the whole affair. A few screens later, via the odd ladder, door and soldier, you reach a large safe and your mission is complete. Yes: that’s it. No end of game baddie, no fan-fare, nothing. Just a screen congratulating you on your achievement and promising that there’s more fun to be had in Navy Moves (trust me there isn’t).

The collision detection in the second half of the game is just as bad as in the first half, and the limited colours sometimes make it difficult to see what’s going on. Quite why I persevered to the end of the game I’m not sure.

This was yet another cheap port of the Spectrum version of the game to the MSX. No use of the enhanced colours, limited use of the far superior sound and no effort to make the game in any way slightly unique for the platform. It has the feeling that the game was knocked out in a hurry, on a limited budget and with no real passion; which is probably was. Definitely one to avoid and absolutely no retro appeal.