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CACG: Quick Index
P1 Front cover
P2 Editorial
P3 Contents and description
Special Features
P58-P60 Fast forward to the future of games
P6 Are games doomed?
P36-P38 Mario Paint Vs. Deluxe Paint AGA
P22-P23 Amazing world of 3-D
P42-P51 SNES Shoot 'em up special
P8-P9 Team 17 special
P56-P57 Millennium FI5H packs compo
Special Features

P28-P32 Machine Comparison - specs
P10-P11 The new Amiga 1200
P12-P13 Super FX Chip
P20 Your computer's CPU
P21 Your computer's memory - ROM & RAM
(Super Nintendo)

P14-P16 Starwing (SNES)
P24-P25 Lemmings (SNES)
P42-P44 UN Squadron (SNES)
P45-P47 Super Aleste (SNES)
P48-P51 Axelay (SNES)
P52 Super Mario 4 (SNES)

P39-P41 Lotus Challenge 3 (Amiga)
P17-P19 Zool (Amiga/A1200)
P26-P27 Pinball Fantasies (Amiga)
P33 Lotus Challenge (MegaDrive)
P34-P35 Project X (Amiga)
P54-P55 Flashback round-up (all formats)
(In the pipeline)

P4-P5 General news
P61 The Second Samurai
P62 D.I.D. games
P63 Populous 2
P64 James Pond's Crazy Sports
P65 Capcom games
P7 Mega CD, CD32 and 3D0

Project X was the game that started the ball rolling for Team 17. Since then, they've gone on to produce the above-average Superfrog and the brilliant budget Alien Breed - Special Edition. But you can forget about those for now, because we're going to take a look at Project X...
As soon as the title sequence has loaded, you know you're in for a treat. The flashy fade-in text has been done before, but not quite as well as this. The options screen has many er, options including the choice of ship you would like to pilot. There are three different types, each with their own pros and cons. The Battle Class is slow but powerful while the, oh you can guess the rest, can't you? The options screen also gives you the choice of two pieces of music. Both are nice, although I'd pick the 'Old-timer' one any day. Unfortunately, you can't listen to any one of these during play, but what you can do is record the music onto tape and then play it back during the game. Primitive idea maybe, but it works. (At least I think it does, anyway.) There's even an optional manual auto-fire for lazy people like myself who can't be bothered to tap the fire button repeatedly. But before you opt for this mode straight away, it is best for me to point out the fact that during the game, you cannot use the R-Type beam jobbie with this option activated. We'll forget the other option as it's a bit pointless.
A touch of a button away, and you're into the game... Well, you would be if the disk drive wasn't busy occupying itself. Thankfully, to keep yourself staring at the screen, the programmers have included a nice pic. to look at. After

'warping' (for want of a better word) itself onto the screen, you are presented to a plot
line. Something about scientists dumping waste onto a planet and hoping it will dissolve. Instead the waste develops intelligent life-form and it is your job to... blah, blah, blah, blah, zzzzzzzzzz... er, sorry, must get back to the review. But before I go any further, I'd just like to point out how pointless story-lines are. They don't do much apart from filling up the manual and giving the writer a few days off work. It's not as if I buy a game because of them, so what purpose do they serve? Oh well, shouldn't complain too much, at least they give me the opportunity to take a break, and just copy text from the manual.
The game consists of five levels, plus a bombing run and bonus level.
Your first mission is to reach the planet - this involves guiding your 'craft from left to right shooting everything in sight. On the way you'll pass a number of lush planets, but don't concentrate on these too much, or you'll lose focus on the game. The first level is tricky enough for the average player, but wait until you see level 2. If you manage to last through this nice ice-waste, then I challenge you to beat the guardian.

Unless you have the stealth (shield) activated, I suggest you plug on auto-fire and hope for the best.
Once you've finally overcome the thing, a bonus level awaits you. If you've seen Aero Blasters, you'll instantly be familiar with the fast speedy scrolling and minimal manoeuvring space. Actually, the bonus level is a treat and a half; some stunning parallax and great speech only go to confirming this. If you collect all the Hoola Hoop-type rings, an extra life is yours. (Oh yes, you get lots of extra points to boot.) The third level is the fiery cavern - you'll need a lot of skill and luck if you are to stay alive on this. Don't expect the fourth level - the watery cave - to be much easier. Without decent weapons, you're a fried chip-ship (or something). Mind you, progress and you'll witness some stunning animation - but watch the lower watery half of the screen, 'cos it'll slow you down. The fifth and final level is the futuristic control area - again, this is tricky, so, er, good luck. Completion of all five levels will require you to go on a bombing run: Bomb all the targets and the end sequence is yours.
Of course, you're not likely to do all this on your first go, but to make life easier, you have a choice of weapons at your disposal.
. The weapons include: SPEED-UP - not really a weapon but handy for speed-freaks nonetheless; GUN - just yer standard spread of bullets; BUILD-UP - the R-Type beam thing; SIDE-SHOTS - useful for clearing baddies from above and below; PLASMA - my personal favourite, this weapon is just like the GUN weapon, only more powerful; MISSILES - home in on the nearest enemy; LASER - very powerful but not very rapid; MAGMA - an ice hot (er...) bolt of fire, a bit like the LASER, too; and then there's the STEALTH, which is just a shield, but very nice for those oh-so-tricky moments. When a group of enemies are shot, they leave behind a power-up. Certain weapons require more power-ups than others - usually the superior ones. To pick your weapon, you can either tap the space bar, press the left mouse button or press the second button on a Sega-compatible joypad. Basically, if you've seen Nemesis (or Gradius), you'll feel at home with the weapon system.
Right, now that you know the basic elements of the game, you'll want to know exactly how good Project X is. Well, technically, it can't be faulted. The graphics are absolutely superb. The enemies are well drawn, the backgrounds are suitably realistic and the animation is outstanding - wait until you reach the fourth level and you'll see what I mean. The jellyfish look like jellyfish and not demented pieces of string, while fish swim around beautifully smoothly. Honestly, for a shoot 'em up game, you won't ever see animation as good as this (until Project X 2 maybe). Each level creates a realistic atmosphere - take the first level with its Tobias Richter- (famous animator) style background planets and spaceships and things, or the lush blue mountains of level 2, or the flashing lights on the final level, or the... I could just go on. Nice touches were obviously very important words in the programmers dictionary. It's not just the graphics that are great either, sound also deserves a special mention. Although some of the speech can sound a little muffled, the background effects more than make up for them. The first level boasts a space-like background hum. Combine this with the meaty sounding (and looking, for that matter)
explosions, and you have one aural treat and no mistake. Suddenly, all goes quiet and a groovy beat comes in to play as the tension builds up. You're meeting the guardian to level 1, you see. Other good sound effects include the buzzing bees on level 2 and the futuristic sound on the last level. Level 3 even has a sleeping rock beast. He's very lazy, and DOES NOT like being woken up - you can hear him snoring from quite some way off. Burst his bubble and you are in trouble. There is no in-game music (apart from the small rhythms that come into play during the guardians and bonus levels (including the bombing run)), but the title tunes are quite pleasant to listen to.
Just to boost the slickness of the game, some very impressive guardians await you in each level to try and do what you're trying to do to them - blow you up! There are an average of two guardians per level, and to say they are impressive is an understatement. They're not like the bosses in something like Axelay or Super Aleste, but they are very good. They don't go warping themselves all over the screen in Mode-7; instead, they prefer to stay at a distance and wait for you to come to them (well, sort of). The first end of level guardian rotates itself in 3-D (probably done using a ray-tracing package or something) and looks fab. The mid-level boss of level 2 (see above) is a swirly mechanical snake, but wait 'til you see the end-guardian of level 2. As you blast away at it, bits come flying off - nice touch that. Level 3 boasts the aforementioned sleeping fire monster, plus several other surprises, while the last two levels comprise of a great-looking bunch of metallic ship-munchers.
All this technical frippery is all very nice (so nice in fact that PX takes up four (!) disks - that makes the game even larger than SNES Street Fighter 2 !), but how well does the game play? Well, while I can actually complete the game; 60% of the population could probably only make it to the second end of level boss while a further 25% could probably only reach the end of level 3. This is a real shame, because the majority of buyers won't be able to see some of the graphics that later levels have to offer. While the game is enjoyable enough to make you want to keep trying, there is still a huge frustration factor. You only need to lose one of your lives and almost all of your weapons go, giving you no chance to regain confidence and control
on some of the later levels. The difficulty is the only real major flaw of the game, and it isn't just the fact that the game is tricky that makes PX so difficult, but that it is tricky in an unfair and unkind manner. Sure it's very nice having doozy parallax on the bonus levels, and great animation on the later levels, but how can everyone appreciate them if they can't even complete the first half of the game? If the programmers would have only let an average games-player to come and play-test the game, then the difficulty setting would have been put right. (Apparently, I've heard that the programmer can complete it every time without losing a life, but then he's made the flippin' thing.)
Anyway, Project X is a great purchase if you want a tough challenge; and for mate-impressing stuff, you won't find much better.

As you're probably already awre, Team 17 have relesed a budget Project X, with easier gameplay and a 0 price-tag. We'd give it, ooh...89%