Previews don't fit in c.s.a.reviews, and demo reviews aren't exactly
appropriate there either, so I decided to post this here, using the
template that's used in c.s.a.reviews. I hope you like it.
WARNING: This (p)review is aimed at people who are not familiar with the
Hired Guns demo yet. People who have already played the demo
will probably not find anything new in this article, so they
may as well skip it.
Site: all aminet sites (amiga.physik.unizh.ch etc.)
Hired Guns, release 0.7 (demonstration version), version 37.14
Hired Guns is an innovative real-time Role Playing Game (RPG) with
4 independent characters - allowing for tougher puzzles and real
teamwork - and a multiplayer option. It's set in a futuristic
UK: Name: Psygnosis Ltd.
Address: South Harrington Building
Liverpool L3 4BQ
Telephone: (051) 709 5755
USA: Name: Psygnosis
Address: 29 Saint Mary's Court
Brookline, MA 02146
Telephone: (617) 731 3553
Name: Scott Johnston
Address: DMA Design
Dundee Technology Park
Scotland, DD1 1TY
FAX: 0382 562333
The Hired Guns demo is freely distributable. You can get it from
all the aminet ftp-sites for free.
I don't know the list price of the full game (yet).
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
Hired Guns runs on any Amiga (A500, A500+, A600, A1200, A1500,
A2000, B2000, A2500, A3000, A4000), provided the machine has at
least 1 MB of RAM.
To run the demo from a hard disk, and to be able to use its
multitasking features, you will need at least 2 MB of RAM, of
which at least 1 MB Chip RAM.
This applies both to the demo and the full game.
The demo takes up approx. 640K of hard disk space. The full game
is said to be 8 MB compressed on 5 disks, so I guess it should fit
within 5 MB of hard disk space.
Hired Guns (the game) will be able to use a special joystick
adapter that allows you to connect 2 extra joysticks to the
parallel port. This feature is not implemented in the demo yet.
Hired Guns is said to work fine under any Kickstart. I have only
tested the demo under Kickstart 1.2 and 2.04 I had absolutely no
The Hired Guns demo even comes with a Duplicate program that enables
you to copy the disk. You are encouraged to make as many copies
as you like and distribute them to friends. According to the
documentation, the Duplicate program will not work on an Amiga 4000.
The demo is hard disk-installable, and the author reports that the
full game will be too (Yes! DMA Design finally seems to understand
that we *do* want this feature). All you have to do to copy it to
your hard disk is move the Hard disk-Install icon to the directory
where you want the demo to be placed (e.g. to the Games directory on
your hard disk) and doubleclick on it. It will make a directory named
'HiredGunsDemo' and copy all the necessary files into it. No
modifications/extensions to system files (like Startup-Sequence or
User-Startup) or system directories (fonts, etc.) are necessary.
You don't need to boot from the demo disk to be able to play.
To run the demo, all you need to do is load in a Workbench and
double-click on the icon of your choice; there are 3 different
versions of the game on disk; a non-playable demo for you to
watch, a 1-player (Campaign) demo and a 2-player (Action) demo.
However, when you run the demo from disk, there is no way to
exit the demo and return to the Workbench. You will need to
reboot the machine. When running from hard disk, you can both
exit the game back to the Workbench, and multitask!
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
Amiga 2000B, 1 internal drive, 1 external drive
512K Chip RAM, 512K Ranger RAM, 2MB Fast RAM (SupraRAM board)
Kickstart 1.2, Workbench 1.3.2
52 MB Quantum LPS hard disk, Evolution 2.2 SCSI-II controller
Amiga 2500, 1 internal drive, 1 external drive
A2630 board with 4MB Fast RAM, 2MB Chip RAM
Kickstart 2.04, Workbench 2.1
120 MB Quantum LPS hard disk, Evolution 3.0 SCSI-II controller
When I first saw the demo of this game (somewhere in Februari, I
think), I was thrilled - and I still am. Finally DMA Design/Psygnosis
promises a game to be hard disk-installable right from the start, even
allowing multi-tasking (provided enough memory is present), and it's a
fantastic game as well! I think it's the best RPG I've seen in a long
time, and it's terribly addictive.
For an RPG, the story is remarkably original. No "Go down in this
dungeon with your elves, dwarves and gnomes and kill Mr. Bad Guy who wants
to take over the universe". The story is set in the year 2707. By that time,
robots have taken over from humans on almost all jobs, because they're better
at it than humans are. The only job where humans still excel is as hired
killers; mercenaries, or 'Hired Guns' (can you guess where the name of this
game came from? :-) Now a group of terrorists has kidnapped some people from
another terrorist organisation and they hold them hostage on a planet with
the nickname "Graveyard". The government doesn't care if these terrorists
kill each other. So you are hired to free the hostages. You don't know who
hired you, but the pay is okay, so you don't complain. What you do know,
is that there's more to it that just freeing hostages. There's more at
stake here, and it's extremely dangerous (hmm... could there be some big
bad guy underneath it all anyway?).
The demo has a slightly different story, which is at least as original
and fits in nicely with the story of the full game.
Four characters - Rorian (a marine), Cheule Siygess (a citizen), Jenillee
Freymon (medic) and CIM (a combat droid) - are granted the privilige (or did
they manage to bribe the right people?) to train in the Battle Simulator of
the Tesseract Military Training Center. The Simulator is set to simulate
the conditions on the planet Graveyard. Your mission sounds easy: all you
have to do to successfully complete the training is find the exit and get out
alive. Let's hope you succeed; you never know when this training may come in
Please note that the demo is not just a restricted version of the full
game, where you can't finish because you cannot reach the elementary parts;
the demo is a full (multi-level) game by itself, albeit not as large as the
INTERFACE / GAME PLAY
When you start the game, a requester will pop up offering a choice
from a set of different languages (the demo only allows the english language
to be selected). After this, you will see a short intro and then end up on
the game screen. If you started the game from disk instead of from hard disk,
it will inform you, right after you picked the language, that it will take
over all resources of the machine, all applications are stopped and all
unsaved data is lost. This is your last chance to abort the process and save
your data. This also means that you will not be able to multitask when you
start the game from disk. I can't really appreciate this; if I have enough
memory anyway, why not use it?
As I mentioned before, the screen is divided into four equal parts;
one for each character. These parts consist of a 3D view, taking up most
of the space, and small buttons for your inventory, your statistics, an
auto-mapper screen, an 'auto-leader' button and a small green/red bar
indicating your health. The 'auto-leader' can be switched on or off (just
click on it) and indicates if you want to lead or follow other characters.
Everyone who has this button turned on and is in close range of the currently
active character, will automatically follow him when he (or she, or it) runs
around. Sometimes this goes wrong and a following character gets stuck behind
a wall or walks off a cliff. However, the author knows of this problem.
As I said above, the game has an auto-mapping feature, and it really works
great! For this feature to function, your character needs a special item
called a 'DTS module' (Digital Terrain Scanner). In the demo, two of the
characters are equipped with such a module. I found this to be enough; if
you want other characters to do the automapping, you can simply give them the
module. Another thing that may be nice to mention is the on-line encyclopedia.
In the inventory ('store') screen, there is an icon with an 'i' in it.
Clicking on that icon will give some information about the item that is
currently held in your hands. This can be useful sometimes.
All controls are extremely intuitive and almost everything can be
done by clicking with the left mouse button. This button can have a couple
of different effects, and the mouse pointer always changed to an icon
reflecting this effect. In some situations (reloading a gun, pulling a
block) the right mouse button also has a function. Usually this works
just fine, but occasionally I found myself clicking in the wrong part of
the screen accidentally, and this can have terrible effects (shooting at
your own party members instead of walking up to them, walking off a cliff
instead of turning around, etc. Maybe I just need more practice, and most
of the time it works great, but you need to be aware of exactly where the
mouse is located on the screen. This is not really fit for people who have
problems with eye-hand coordination. One more thing to mention: when you
walk around and there is an item lying on the ground (or multiple items),
an icon will appear in the lower left corner of the characters 3D view.
Clicking on this icon will make you pick up the item and put it in your
backpack. I regret that you cannot look at the item without picking it
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