The Chaos Engine
From Sega Retro
|The Chaos Engine/Soldiers of Fortune|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive|
|Sound driver: Graftgold custom|
The Chaos Engine is a 1993 top-down run-and-gun game developed by The Bitmap Brothers for the Commodore Amiga and subsequently ported to a variety of platforms, including the SNES and Sega Mega Drive. It was published by Microprose in Europe and Spectrum HoloByte in the US, where the game was renamed Soldiers of Fortune and a character changed slightly.
Baron Fortesque, a brilliant scientist, invents The Chaos Engine, a primitive computer which goes mad and overtakes its creator to take over the world by altering humans and animals into beasts, among other terrors. Six mercenaries — heroes who are paid to fight — appear to save the day. You control two of the six heroes (who have to be hired by paying for them beforehand from a character select screen) as they try to get through the wasteland Earth has become and destroy The Chaos Engine. The game can be played either with one player and a CPU or two players simultaneously; in either case you must choose characters for both players.
Hold to fire. You cannot move as you fire; instead you use the D-pad to aim your shots, allowing you to hit targets in eight directions. Pushing rapidly gives a higher firing rate than the default setting provided by the game.There are four worlds, each with four levels. To get through each level, you must activate Nodes by shooting at them several times. A Node appears as a white tower with an orange blob on it; shooting it will turn into an electrified golden tower, activating it. You will also find gold, special weapons (fired with ), keys to activate passageways, and yin-yang signs which act as checkpoints, among other items; walk into them to take them. Once all the Nodes have been activated, an exit will be activated, allowing you to leave the level. After every two levels, you are taken to a shop where you can spend gold to upgrade your characters.
Available upgrades are:
- extra life
- skill (gives access to weapon power ups and character specific special weapons)
- restore health
- intelligence (only for CPU characters)
- weapon power up (based on skill)
- special weapons (based on skill)
Some levels have multiple exits, which affect the starting points of the next stage. As a rule of the thumb, hidden exits lead to starting points that net more gold. Various secret passages exist, similar to another The Bitmap Brothers game, Gods. At the end of the stage, detailed statistics show how many items, gold etc. were collect, giving the player an idea of the remaining secrets per stage, although it's often not possible to collect all itmes due to branching paths.
A password system is in place to record the player's progress. All purches items and power ups are converted into gold when using a password, practically allowing the player to respec his characters. Score however is lost when using a password. A total playthrough takes between 1:00 and 1:30 hours.
- The Forest
- The Workshops
- Fortesque Mansion
- The Cellars
Sequels and re-releases
According to Mike Montgomery (interviewed by gaming site Sega-16) from the Bitmap Brothers, a 32X or Mega CD port was considered, but no publisher could be found.
And its sequel was originally planned to receive a Mega Drive port but was cancelled during development. In an interview with Sega-16, Mike Montgomery of the Bitmap Brothers stated that they couldn't find a publisher for the sequel. At some point a demo version was leaked. The demo version has very limited content.
- The Mega Drive/Genesis EU Version has a difficulty option, but the US version doesn't.
- The cleric was changed into a scientist in both PAL and NTSC version.
- The original Amiga release was a PAL region game, thus the PAL version runs at the correct speed, both in terms of music and gameplay. Forcing the game into 60Hz mode makes the game play too fast. The NTSC version actually plays too fast compared to the Amiga original, although the music speed was ajusted. All versions have a bit of slowdown, likely due to the CPU controlled partner. Scrolling is also is a bit choppy in both version, but less noticeable in the faster NTSC version.
- Compared to the Amiga version, the contrast has been increased and all stages have a color scheme neither found in the original Amiga version nor the Amiga AGA version and the ports to SNES, Amiga CD 32.
|Language||Localised Name||English Translation|
|English||The Chaos Engine||The Chaos Engine|
|English (US)||Soldiers of Fortune||Soldiers of Fortune|
- Design: Simon Knight, Eric Matthews
- Graphic Design: Daniel Malone
- Graphic Conversion: Herman Seranno
- Original Code: Stephen Cargill
- Code Conversion: Glyn Kendall
- Additional Code: Mike Montgomery
- Original Game Music: Richard Joseph
- SFX: Richard Joseph
- Sound Conversion: Jason Page (at Graftgold)
- Title Music: Farook Joi, Haroon Joi
- Project Management: Graeme Boxall
- Main article: The Chaos Engine/Magazine articles.
|Sega Retro Average|
| Based on|
|Mega Drive, US|
ROM dump status
|The Chaos Engine|