I have been lucky enough to have access to a preview code for The Chaos Engine for Steam today (thanks Andy). I had seen the teaser videos, read the hype and was really excited about getting my hands on this ‘restored’ version of one my favourite Amiga games.
From it’s awesome soundtrack, digitised speech and excellent 2 player mode, The Chaos Engine is still relevant to this day and I can see how it will appeal to younger gamers as well as us old ‘uns.
As a massive fan of retro gaming I take my hat off to the people that are remaking/reworking these classic games at the moment. It is giving the kids of today the chance to experience games that we were playing at their age. Now, the guys at Mastertronic and Abstraction have made it clear from the start that this was not a ‘remake’ but a ‘restoration’. There would be some enhanced features such as improved controls and an option to play in ‘classic visual mode’ or ‘enhanced visual mode’.
In ‘classic visual mode’ The Chaos Engine is a pixel perfect port of the Amiga game. The speech, graphics and gameplay are identical and to this day stand up very well. So, it kind of is what it is; a perfect port of The Chaos Engine. If that is what you are after then you will be very happy with this release.
The first ‘enhancement’ is the ability to rotate on the spot using an analogue controller. This can be toggled on and off and I think it’s a great little tweak to the gameplay.
The second ‘enhancement’ is the option to improve the graphics with a ‘pixel perfect finish’. Now this is where I am struggling with The Chaos Engine. To me, when enhanced visual mode is selected the graphics look worse. It’s as if a tacky Photoshop filter has been applied to the pixels which makes them look blurred and undefined. It’s a horrible effect that doe’s absolutely nothing to improve the experience. I have shown a before and after below to show what I mean.
So to summarise, im split on this one and I’m left wondering if im missing the point. Sure, its a perfect version of The Chaos Engine which has been lovingly restored but it you are expecting more than that, you will be left disappointed im afraid. Sure, the control tweaks are an improvement but not enough to make me want to rush out and buy The Chaos Engine on Steam.