Gloom is set in some pretty miserable dungeons where you, a marine, must work your way around a rendered 3D maze blasting strange creatures, rival marines, ghosts and other creatures out of your way. There is no weapon visible but a power bar at the top of the screen indicates that yo have one and how powerful it is too. A Gloom marine is equipped with a single plasma-style gun, which you can pick up power-ups for as you wander through the maze. Get five power-ups and you have a pretty powerful weapon. Find one of the super power ups and you have an awesome one. Right from the start the 3D rendered walls, ceilings and floors do not fail to impress, nor does the size, shape and speed of them enemy, especially the ghosts who come out at you in the second series of dungeons. Idling with intent around any corner can be one or ten enemies, of various different sorts, though if you are lucky enough to pick up a wall scanner headset you’re at an advantage – you can see them coming. Upgrades like this, and the weapon power-ups only last as long as your current life though. Gloom gives you two options on the two player game. If you only have one A1200 then you can split the screen horizontally and, though it slows it down considerably, have all the fun and the worthwhile assistance of a mate to share the misery and woe of fighting a vicious enemy. The other way to go about things is to get a serial port cable and another friend who has an A1200, link the two and go for it full screen on two machines, with two monitors. Despite minor difficulties in setting this mode up it is totally awesome when you actually get playing. Two are better than one, and this is one sure way of getting further into the game. Unfortunately if your opponent has a 1230 50Mhz accelerator in his Amiga and you don’t he will rush off in all directions grabbing weapons and food upgrades (disguised as baby bottle), hiding behind you while you bite other people’s bullets and generally acting like a right plonker. You see, speed is everything in Gloom and 50Mhz really moves it around. And so to the two player Vs Combat mode. Here you enter the maze with your ‘friend’, try to find and kill him. This works for a while, but you’ll soon lose interest and return to the two player versus the computer mode, where the truckloads of enemy make all the difference. Right from the start the 3D rendered walls, ceilings and floors do not fail to impress. There is one section where you enter a large spinning roundabout, if you get caught between it and the wall you will suffer, but it’s the sheer quality of the graphics in sections like this that really make the game what it is. Gloom is less like Doom than you might think though. It is really a fast paced maze shoot ’em up with less overall atmosphere than Doom but more frantic, shoot ’em up style action throughout the levels. You can size the screen and set the resolution of the graphics to suit your needs and play happily (if a little nervously) for hours, days on end. In one player mode, or even more so in two player, side by side combat Gloom is excellent.

More news: Generation Amiga magazine