Why can't more platform games be like this?
For its time, the graphics and sound in this game were top-notch. The vector graphics were really done very well, and had the benefit of making the actual game itself have a very small space/resource footprint.
The game also told a good, believable story. When lightning strikes your particle accelerator, you're transported to an alien world, facing danger at every turn. While this game had no dialog whatsoever
, it still managed to paint a picture of an alien world and characters with actual depth. Everything that happened in this game happened for a reason, and all of the areas and actions were explained by visual context, not words.
The sound and music, while minimal, also added a great deal of depth to the world. Even though this was a DOS game, it seemed to use a music system similar to the Amiga's. Instead of FM midi sound, it made use of digital audio samples. Granted, at the time I played, the PC only had one digital channel available (assuming you had a SoundBlaster), whereas the Amiga had four, and the actual sample quality
of the sound was low, it was still much nicer than other games of the era.
The action was non-stop, and the game progressed seamlessly from one area to the next. There was also no visible onscreen interface; there didn't really need to be.
If you were watching over someone's shoulder as they played this game, and if they didn't die at all, it would almost be like watching a cartoon. (Assuming you ignore the player frantically banging away at his keyboard, that is).
This game only really had two minor problems, but they combine, Voltron-like, to form One Big Problem.
One: In some areas, your timing had to be very
precise. Some areas were jump puzzles, others were "shoot your gun at this
Two: The game would automatically save your progress as you went from level to level, although it never actually told you about it until you died and reappeared (no actual "game" interface to tell you that it's saving, remember). The automatic save points were few and far between in some tough areas, causing you to think "Wait, I've gotta go through all that
again? Screw that
, what's on TV?"
Those two problems combined could make dying a lot more frustrating than it should be.
But even so, these areas of the game didn't crop up too often.
The Bottom Line
I loved this game. Generally, I hate platform games, mainly because they all seem so cheesy and forced, but this game is an exception. With no dialog (or any text at all, for that matter), the player is free to draw his own conclusions about the game world and characters.
And besides, it was a blast to play, which is what's really