Monday, 15 August 2011

Interpose (MS-DOS) - Guest Post

Hello again! Would you like to see a really cool game?

This is Interpose, a 90s horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-up made by madcap Norwegian demo-scene group Twilight Zone gone straight.

Let me tell you a story.

Before dinosaurs ruled the Earth, the overlynxes lived on the island of Atlantis.

The overlynxes were kick ass archers. But you knew that already.

Purple Tentacle was right: it's fingers and opposable thumbs that maketh the man.

The overlynxes grew to be a wise and patient folk. They developed advanced technologies which allowed them to live in harmony with nature within vast enclosed cities. Remember the overlynxes lived during the Triassic: it's probably not very nice out there. It's also possible that this is a forced perspective shot of a snowglobe in a field.

They also made cool 3D rendered space fighters fitted with state-of-the-art weaponry. They were pacifists, so they only built them because they thought they'd look cool. They never thought they'd have to use them...

Of course, somebody always has to try and ruin everything.


They're attempting to develop the most capable and deadly creatures in order to destroy the overlynxes and take over the Earth...

"It turns out it's man!"™

Humans are rubbish.

Did you know that Sylvester Stallone was a genetically engineered warrior created millions of years ago by aliens for the purpose of exterminating the Atlantean overlynx civilisation?

It's true!

Red alert! The humans are coming to destroy Atlantis! Scramble! Scramble!

Only one overlynx is hot-headed enough to try and take the fight to the Denebolans directly. He's probably berating himself for parking his fighter so far away from the domed city.

There I am. Ready to kick ass and take names, and I'm all outta names.


The humans are sending in their rendered space jets and space helicopters. Get ready!

There's a bit of a problem with Interpose. Like most 90s Western horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-ups, Interpose is like a swiss roll.

No matter how you slice it, it looks like a spiral.

Are these the same level? Different levels? Who can say? They've all more or less got the same enemies.

And like most 90s Western horizontally scrolling shoot-'em-ups, that's not its only problem.

Everything is really big on the screen: the player's ship, the enemy ships and the scenery. Luckily, it's safe to bounce off or slide against the scenery.

The screen scrolls automatically, so it's possible to get yourself trapped in a maze of instant death mines or against a vertical wall because the game doesn't show you which route is the correct one until too late.

When you control your ship, it doesn't move at a fixed speed like the Vic Viper from Gradius. The Interpose ship accelerates and decelerates slowly, causing it to lurch around the screen.

Most of the sprites are likeably naff but well-animated prerendered graphics, but the low resolution and huge enemies means you have to fill the screen with lasers at all times to stop enemies whooshing in from crashing into you before you can react. This means you can't hear the music! It's also damn hard to take screenshots of the enemies.

A lot of the enemy waves have a habit of appearing from the left of the screen, and you don't get any rear-facing weapons until some levels in. I had to sell all of the single-use special powerups I acquired just to get the essential up and down firing weapons to a usable level.

Auto-fire is a temporary power up that can be picked up or bought; you will need a new keyboard after playing Interpose unless you never buy anything but auto-fires. You can't go back and replay levels for more money, so you'd better choose your items carefully.

This boss is a pain in the backside. He matches your every move. The first two times I reached him, I couldn't see that he was shooting me because I was hammering the fire button and he shoots the same colour lasers that I do. You're supposed to trick him into shooting that orb on the left of the screen, but that's really difficult due to the super slidey ship.

When you die it's back to the last shop, which is a couple of minutes away. You don't get back any single use weapons you wasted and the enemies you re-encounter between the last shop and the boss don't drop any cash. And you lose a level of cannon powerup. Hurrah.

Game over. The humans have taken over the Earth and covered her surface with an unbounded population of violent, primitive apes, monstrous cities of concrete and steel, and inane blogs.

If I'm going to be super mega honest, I think Interpose is a boring game. I love the scenario and the cutscenes are very well done but I just don't like shmups that much. I just wanted to see the intro again. The music is pretty cool too! I've had the menu music in my head since I first played the game over a decade ago. (YouTube link)

Interpose was made with care and attention by people who knew what they were doing. Every problem with the game is due to it being a low-resolution nineties horizontal shmup.

The key difference is that low-resolution nineties horizontal shmups like Blood Money are ugly, boring pants that aren't worth your time. Interpose is friendly, charming naffness that every home should own.

1 comment:

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