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Crossfire II (Amiga)
I purchased the game Crossfire 2 for Amiga back in 2006 for 29.90 Euro from Vesalia. The game came in a nice DVD box. The background for the whole cover is 3D rendered space picture with asteroids and spaceships. On the front is the Crossfire II title, together with the DREAMWORLDS and APC-TCP logos. On the rear side of the box is the About this game: text with short description of the story and main features of the game. It is written both in English and German. On the bottom are the requirements of the game and the copyright information. As minimum is written 68030 with 16MB RAM, AGA/GFX/50 MB HD space and 4x CDROM. The recommended is 040+ / PPC, 32MB RAM, Gfx Board, 300MB HD space and 8x CDROM. It should work on Amiga68K and AmigaPPC (WarpOS), MorphOS, Amithlon. There are four very nice screenshots on the rear as well. Looking at the screenshots, reading the features and the whole space theme around the box makes the game very tempting to open. The fact that it will work on AmigaPPC without emulation was very good to know, even if the game is not developed especially for PPC powered machines. I removed the APC & TCP stick and opened the box.
Inside the box was the game CD. It has the CROSSFIRE II title on the top, the APC&TCP logo and the (C) 2002 text on the left, and on the bottom is the logo of the developers of the game - Dreamworlds Development. All this on space background with planets and fire. Turning over the CD, it seems more than 90 percent full. As I was very impatient to see what is inside, I quickly loaded the CD drive with the game CD. After a small delay a nice CD icon with ship and the CrossfireII text appeared on my Workbench. Double-clicking on the icon opens the game CD window, saying the Volume have 621.3 MB in use. My eyes were right - the game CD was almost entirely full. Five icons and three drawers are on the game volume. Opening the Readme.txt file reveals that I already have the second version (v1.03) actually, which have many bugs ironed and many new features available. The Readme file contains also FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section, where many questions are full answered. This is very handy to read, if some problems appear. The same Readme file is also available in German as Liesmich.txt. A small discrepancy between the icon names and the text files names, makes them not available directly by double-click on them, but selecting the files from the Multiview file requester opens them fine. Next to the readme is the Dochtml icon, which is for the game manual. There is again discrepancy with the name, so the game manual have to be opened manually with IBrowse or AWeb with the Open local file option. The manual is available in German and English. It is entirely done with html pages and is very nice to read, containing information with Introduction, Story, Requirements, Installation, Main menu, Options, Preferences, Weapons & Items, Ship types, General game topics, Support, Credits and Copyrights. After carefully reading all the manual, which took me around one hour, I continued with look at the other contents of the game CD.
The CD have some additional drawers. Two of them are called Contributions and External. In the Contributions drawer there is source code for the preferences program, the OctaMED module for the trailer animation, sample sounds and their algorithms they are created of. In the External drawer are some useful archives, which may come handy if the user have no Internet connection to download them. There is version 31.0 of Chunkyppc.library, the user installation archive for MUI v3.8, the user installation archive for AHI v4.16 and the archive of the commodity SetJoyPort. The game itself is in a separate drawer called Crossfireii. It can be started and played directly from the CD. For this the Crossfireii_prefs must be started first, where the correct setting required preferences are set and then click on Save or Use. I set the best options as I will play the game on microAmigaOne with PowerPC 750 GX (800 MHz) processor and 256MB RAM. The game requirements are low below my configuration, that is why I selected the options - 65536 Colors, and 128 Channels. When started from the CD, an AmigaDOS requester appears, saying that the Volume CrossfireII is write protected, but clicking on Cancel starts the game. Because the animation is loaded from the CD, it is not smooth and I went to install the game on a hard drive. Also there is AmigaOS 4 update for the game available on the Support site for the game, so installing the game on the hard drive was the only way to go. The installation of the game is easy. Because I use the standard install program, I had to go for the Installation_low icon, where the ordinary Amiga Application Installation Utility, Version 43.25 asked me to Set Installation Mode to which I selected Expert User - Must Confirm all actions as I always do and then proceeded with the install. There are three possible installation options - minimum installation (50 MB), normal installation (200 MB) and full installation (650 MB). I have the space and I went for full installation. Next was the option to install the chunkyppc.library, to which I choose Yes. Three possible standard configurations are available for choose after that - 68030, AGA: 256 Colors, some features disabled, 060, AGA/GFX, 256 Colors, all features enabled and PPC/GFX: 65000 colors, all features enabled. I selected the third option after which the copy of the files from the CD to the hard drive started. The biggest files during the installations were obviously the Animations. They where copied in their both versions - standard and highcolor. The whole installation process took no longer than three minutes and the game was ready for play. Launching the game from AmigaOS 4 gave me Grim Reaper DSI (Data Storage Interrupt) error, but simply clicking the Ignore DSI errors, starts the game without any further interrupts. As I already had downloaded the AmigaOS 4 update, I decided to give it a go. The update procedure is as simple as unpacking the update archive and then copying the files to the CrossfireII folder. There is also Update readme, where it is given tutorial how to configure the lowlevel.library to work with the game. This tutorial is useful for other games and emulators using the lowlevel.library. After the update, launching the game from the CrossfireII_OS4 icon goes smooth, without any errors.
After the Dreamworlds logo animation, consisting of the logo in a space theme, went the introduction which is stunning, depicting a space battle in asteroid belt. Then I was presented with authors list and then the game menu. All the animations ran very smooth and are fullscreen.
The whole game is in low resolution (320x240). It played well on full
screen on my AmigaOS 4 install and the animations are very good and nice to watch. During the menu there is nice background animation with very relaxing music, which is great to watch and listen to as well.
Probably because of the AHI mixing routines, the sound was very quiet, when I have set 128 channels. Setting the channels back to 8 in the
For a start, I selected Campaign mode. After entering the player name, I was given the option to Play the Tutorial first?, to which I answered Yes. The story begins from here. It is nice presented with developing of the character through the levels. Before every level there is a short story with a 3D rendered scenery at the background. The pictures are very good presented with excellent usage of colors and gamma. They are with the same textures on which the level is later played on. The first mission when selection of the Tutorial is made, is on planet surface. The music is excellent, relaxing the player before the mission. It is highly recommended to play the Tutorial before the real missions, where the player will learn about the basic control of his ship, usage of the map, shooting, messaging and the overall gaming experience. At the beginning when the messages are broadcast, the player is remote controlled, but later he is on his own. The volume of the sound effects and the music volume can be set at the summary of the messages, which is hinted how to be seen.
In this first mission, which is purely for training purposes, the player can try to develop different techniques. These techniques will for sure come handy at the next missions, even if he uses much different ships in the missions. In this mission, the player also learns about the guiding arrows, following the goal places and handling around walls and later asteroids. Next he have to shoot targets, which are easy, because they do not shoot back. Then other ships scout around and he have to hide from them, which is much used in the later missions. But at the end of the mission, a really tough ship arrives, driven by the trainer himself. For him, the ship can use different weapons, but the opponent also have strong arsenal at his disposal. After the training missions, the story goes several years later, where the pilot drives various transporter ships at different systems around the galaxy. With the transporter ship, it is much better to hide and do not expose, because the weapon is so weak, that it can not effectively defend himself even against a single enemy.
After the first successful mission with the transporter, the game goes to play with real ship, this time escorting the transporter ships. For first time the shop is entered, where different types of weapons can be bought for the different enemies, or styles of playing the game. In the weapons shop also the unused weapons can be sold, gaining money for other weapons, or just for freeing space on the ship. Because the weapons cost money, a strategy have to be raised in using the cheapest weapon possible at the beginning to have spare cash an the later levels for better weapons. If the mission is failed, the progress is autosaved, and the player can continue from this mission. There are five save slots possible. The mission is restored before entering the shop, so it can be experimented with different types of weapons, if it does not goes well with the ones already tested. After the escort mission, there are other missions, where the group of the pilot - the rebels, steal from the United Worlds stations, for their own consumption. The player also have to develop skills in the cooperative play and to act in a team with other ships.
The graphic in the space is really stunning, with very specific scenery at the various systems in which the action is taken. The game engine is two dimensional, but all the graphics are 3D renders and give very nice atmosphere to the game. The sound track is in synchronization in what really happens. If the ship hides and is not yet unnoticed, it is really slow and relaxing, but if he is spotted, or a shooting scene is going on, the music is much more dynamic and pushes the player to play harder. The sound effects are in very high quality and I really prefer them at full volume. The difficulty level raises with every mission passed, but the motivation of the player raises much more, especially if he follows the story carefully. As I am a big fan of the science fiction and space themes, I really enjoy reading every bit of the story and watching all the scenery, the ships, missions and weapons. At some levels I explore the playfield, just to see the graphics and have a look at the planets and asteroids around.
Between some of the missions there are also full screen animations of flying scenes, very nice to see. At the fourth mission, a new enemy, unseen by the rebels appears. Later it turns out to be well known by the United Worlds. The story have many turnarounds, with different ships used for the missions. Every ship have its own pros and cons, so it is very different experience with various skills required for the missions. At some missions it is not recommended to fight, but better stay away and leave it to the better ships of your groups finish all the enemy, or while they are busy attacking the big ships, you attack them from behind and distract them. I always prefer the more powerful weapons, but they require a closer contact with the enemy, which turns out to be the more risky method, but when getting enough experience, the hard shooting missions are more easier with these weapons. As it turns out, the green aliens are a common enemy for both - the rebels and the United Worlds, so they assign a meeting, where they team up against these aliens. New weapons in the different shops can be purchased, but later even enemy weapons can be used for fighting, which are very extraordinary. There is even chance to control an alien ship and be at alien system as a spy.
At the later missions, the action is returned again on the planets surface, where the player will control a vehicle or his ship. The scenery as usual is stunning with perfect usage of the colors and shading. All these different kinds of missions, turned my motivation so much, that I played all the 27 missions at one go, and got a rest only after finishing them all. So many scenes to be seen, different solar systems, situated at near or far ends of the galaxy, weapons, enemies, stories and animation is a must see for anyone who loves science fiction and space scenes. After finishing the Campaign mode, for sure I can play it again from the beginning, because it is entertaining and fun to go through all these missions again, read the story and play the tactics and strategies, requiring not only fast reflexes, but also team work, strategy and practice. The final animation is again stunning with the space theme, nice music and credits of the authors who put several years of effort into creating this masterpiece. After the end of the Campaign Mode, I was very satisfied, but this was not the whole game.
Except the Campaign game mode, there is also possibility to play in Dogfight and Survival modes. In these modes the game is still the same but totally different. In the Dogfight mode, the human players play against each other with mission to kill the opponent. The weapon shops are presented for each player and he buys whatever he wants. The playfiled is only of one screen, which does not scroll like in the campaign mode, and the ships can not warp around the screen. There are different obstacles appearing - mines, asteroids, black holes, but also items to collect, which can help the player in his mission to eliminate the opponent. The scenery is again stunning even if only on one screen, the renders are awesome. It can be played from two to four players. In the Survival mode, the game can be played from one to four persons. The weapon shops are presented, if chosen to, from where the game is taken into a screen with various enemies and items to collect appearing. The ships and the weapons here are not presented in the game and this makes this mode worth playing separately. Even if killed, in the Survival mode, the game continues to the next rounds. When played by more than one player - the ships team up against the enemy ships and cannons, and at the end of the round, a summary of the kills and the score is given for each player. The animation, depicting a ship on a asteroid is very nice as the other animations in the game. Interesting mode to play, not only for training, but also for experiencing different weapons, team play with other humans and facing enemy ships at narrow space. There is no music in the Dogfight and Survival modes, but the music between the rounds is different than the music in the Campaign mode.
All the impression from the game I got was very positive and I am glad to have the game in my collection. The AmigaOS 4 update is a big plus as I play the game with taking all the advantage of the PPC hardware.
I do not regret buying this game. In fact I liked it so much, that I bought other APC & TPC games like Desert Racing of BarDos, because I was impressed with the quality. For sure this is one of the greatest Amiga only games to date.
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