Oh, those nutty console kids keep thinking PC gamers will be impressed with their little action shooters. Aren't they cute? Why, with Duke, Quake, TIE Fighter, Wing Commander, MechWarrior, Descent, Crusader, and even Shattered Steel and Scorched Planet, would we be interested in such unimaginative, average fare as Amok?
In Amok, you steer a combination walker/submarine through four semi-interesting worlds, each with a set of missions. The premise, not that it matters, is that two mega-corporations have finally turned to peace after years of war on the planet Amok. "The Bureau," being war profiteers, don't care much for this peace, so they hire you to blow up a lot of stuff to get the war going again. It's always fun to play on the side of right and justice.
Gameplay is extremely, wonderfully, perfectly adequate. The landscapes of the four worlds - Wastelands, Ocean, City, and Tunnels - are fairly rendered and visually interesting for about a minute. To add to the fun, the objects in these worlds are flat, two-dimensional, and cartoonish. The perspective itself, from behind your vehicle, is often disorienting, and the lack of an in-vehicle viewpoint is a real problem.
Each vehicle has a certain amount of energy which decreases as you take hits. More energy can be picked up along the way, along with shields and hull extensions, but it rarely seems to be enough. The energy is very low at the start of each mission - so low that replaying each level multiple times is inevitable as you try to figure out how to get through precisely without taking any damage. There is no margin for error, a flaw that the makers try to pass off as challenging gameplay. The need to constantly replay each level is a crucial feature to the life of Amok, since there are only two missions on each level and one extra mission, for a total of - count 'em - nine missions. That's not exactly a heapin' helpin' of gaming goodness.
Control is simple fare as you navigate both land and water in your little battle craft. (For all the difference there is between being on land or in water, they needn't have bothered.) Hitting stuff is pretty easy with the auto-aiming cannon and missile, so you don't have to worry about unnecessarily expending any brain power on those difficult firing tasks. Enemies can be tough at times, especially since you don't want to be hit at all, and this keeps levels interesting. A set of specific, multiple goals also keeps the action moving right along, so you always have plenty to do within a level.
Sadly, none of it adds up to much. Amok is not a bad game, but neither is it one you'd want to actually buy with so many other, good games to choose from. Mediocrity, in this case, is a fatal sin.