Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Budget Day - Arnie (Commodore 64)

If it's the early Nineties and you're making a game about an all-action hardman, you could do a lot worse than calling it Arnie.  Just that one name conjurs up images of a gun-toting muscleman, cutting a swathe through entire squadrons of armed bad guys.  It did then and it still does now, twenty years down the line.

It's appropriate enough, because the Arnie of this game is, indeed, a one-man army.  Dropped into a warzone by chopper, it's up to you to guide this man of steel around the map, shooting down everything in his path, until the inevitable confrontation with the mad dictator at the source of all the troubles.

There's not much that's as satisfying as exploding enemy hardware.
It's a tried-and-tested scenario, but the game is a bit more interesting and enjoyable than its cliched storyline.  That's partly because of the graphical viewpoint... Arnie is in glorious isometric 3D, which is fairly unusual for a game of this type.  It does mean that your viewing area is restricted at time (when you reach the edge of the map), but this doesn't really cause any problems.

Unusually, the game is not split into levels.  You're deposited into the jungle, and from there you just make your way across the landscape until you (hopefully) reach the end.  I often wondered why more action/shooting games weren't like this.  Life isn't split into levels, nor are action films.  Why shouldn't a shooting game be one seamless journey?  It works really well, with not a single break in the action.

That enemy truck looks dangerous. Luckily, my rocket is about to take it out.

Arnie was programmed by Chris Butler, and you get a little bit of a feeling that he was out to prove just how good a shooter he could program, having been hamstrung by Elite when programming (the still very enjoyable) Commando conversion.  This is a bit slower-paced than Commando, but still has plenty going on.  With extra weapons to pick up and new enemies and obstacles introduced along the way, it's never boring.

Arnie was released later in the Commodore 64's lifetime, and as a result it had a more expensive budget price of £3.99.  It was still well worth that bit extra though... I never regretted the purchase, and even today it's a worthwhile blast and a fair old challenge.


  1. Thank you for this review! The game, which I never got around to playing as I moved to Amiga in 1990, looks brilliant! Loved "Commando" as well, and recently went through the history of mercenary coder Chris Butler. I'll definitely check this out on VICE.

    Thanks & keep up the good work, I subscribed :)

  2. Thanks for your interest! I hope you enjoy the game when you play it, it's pretty good!