Systems: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game features:Single game mode
The name V2000 conjures up al! kinds of images. It could be the name of an overpriced sports car, the type driven by men with minute penises. It could be the name of a festival organised by the increasingly sinister Virgin group, whose V98 extravaganza will have been and gone by the time your eyes soak up these words. Or it could be the laboratory codename for an immense nuclear space robot that goes dangerously out of control in downtown Tokyo, demolishing buildings with its immense iron phallus. Actually, that last one's a damn good idea for a film. Somebody write it down. Bagsy a 20% option on the video rights.
Anyway, the intensely mundane Creal world' being what it is, V2000 refers to none of these things. In fact, it's the sequel to a game called Virus.
Lets Au Meet Up In The V2000
There are precious few well-known Cnames' in the gaming industry, but the man behind V2000 is one of them. He is David Braben, co-creator of the 1984 deep-space combat-and-trading classic Elite. The original Virus first appeared in 1988 on the Archimedes, a not-especially-successful home computer popular with boffins, amateur astronomers, classical musicians and all manner of friendless spods with damp trousers and shiny foreheads. The game (originally available under the moniker Zarch) was voted bestselling game on the Archimedes - an achievement doubtlessly aided by two telling factors: one, the game was bundled with the hardware itself, and two, the second best-selling game on the Archimedes was called Calculate THIS You Giant Buffoon, a text-input game in which the player had to solve an endless string of sums, with abusive language j displayed on screen each time he or she got an answer wrong (this fl is all a lie).
Anyway, Braben's offering was soon ported across to the , Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST, where it quickly developed a ' rabid following on account of its lightning-fast 3D graphics (still a novelty in those days) and unusual gameplay.
Ah, yes. The gameplay.
She's Out Of Control
Those who played it will know that the big problem with the original Virus was also one of its major selling points: the unusual way in which the player controlled their spaceship. At heart, the game itself wasn't entirely dissimilar to Defender, although the flight method owed far more to games like Thrust, Asteroids or Lunar Lander, in that hovering was entirely impossible. Instead, the ship was entirely at the mercy of all the laws of physics, so players had to continually juggle with the afterburners, thrusting and counter-thrusting in order to retain some semblance of control. In practice, what happened was this: you started playing the game; you gasped at the smooth 3D graphics; you crashed into the ground; you tried again; you crashed into the ground again; on your next attempt you managed to fly a few metres before crashing into the ground; and then you either persevered and mastered it or threw the damn thing out of the window and became a bitter and twisted man. Guess which option we chose?
So here's cause for celebration: not only does V2000 provide far better visuals than its predecessor, but most importantly of all, the flight model has been totally re-jigged to allow normal human beings to get to grips with it. Better yet, the degree of difficulty is entirely customisable, allowing cack-handed newbies to adjust the craft's ability to self-right (ie remain level), while show-off Virus diehards can choose to piddle around unaided. Furthermore, the ship can now morph itself, in true Transformers fashion, from a zippy-but-unwieldy fighter space jet thing into a stable-but-limited hovercraft.
The game's dynamics have also undergone a major tweak. In the original game, the bulk of the action concerned itself with preventing the spread of a deadly red virus, carried by a swarm of attacking alien creatures. Eliminating them all, then destroying their hive, was your main objective. That hasn't changed, but V2000 also brings a host of new features to the party. There are people to rescue (21 la Defender), an incredible array of weapons to research and use, and all manner of high-falutin' technology (such as autonomous craft or portable radar units) to aid your plan of action.
And, of course, the graphics are much, much better than they were ten years ago. The preview version we played suffered from pretty bad Cpopup' (with some landscape features being drawn in at the last moment on screen), but overall the engine is impressive. Alongside the prerequisite lighting effects, there's an undulating ocean which the player can actually dive under and into. The levels are fairly diverse, with 30 individual stages spread across six different environment types, including mediaeval worlds, ice planets and wibbly wobbly waterworlds.
We're impressed so far. Let's see what the final version has to offer (and let's hope they eliminate that pop-up problem or we'll whinge like a bunch of disgruntled seven-year-olds being force-fed Tofu).