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Summary'Impressive' but not very much fun, I've always seen this as over-rated
The GoodThere are passwords for every stage, unique to each copy sold, so you'll have to play the game through for yourself. It loads quickly from floppies, and seems stable. Sound effects and title music are up to the high Bitmap Brothers standards.
The Artificial Intelligence features a number of famed innovations, including a very advanced ability to track your moves and work out the best strategy, and 'thief' characters who can collect unobtainable objects and then be killed by you (thus releasing the object) when they re-emerge.
The BadThe pace is quite sluggish (no wonder it was nicknamed 'Plods' in some quarters), and very rarely does anything happen which is actually exciting as such. Enemies all look the same and act the same. The much-hyped graphics are detailed but colourless and repetitive, and the scrolling fails to keep up with the action quite frequently (apparently the Genesis version is faster). That bright green bar at the bottom which flashes up information is quite intrusive, especially as green isn't used in the game colours (for the sake of atmosphere)
The puzzles are largely solved by trial-and-error experimentation with switches - and because a switch at one end of a level can open a door at the other end, it means a lot of trudging around. Considering that getting onto ladders seems hit-and-miss, falls injure him, and there are sections where spikes are unavoidable, a lot of lives can be lost this way. In a game like Exile or First Samurai there's much more logic and brainpower involved. Similarly, there are lots of sections where the weapon you've just bought is virtually useless, because it doesn't attack high enough for example.
The fact that the game gives you extra bonuses if you're struggling seems conceptually flawed to me - a game should challenge you to get the hang of it and master its subtleties, and only offering higher scores for finding hidden sections.
Your main character has a helmet on, so you can't see his face, which stops him having any character. Blond hair doesn't suit for a Greek character either - he ends up looking like David Beckham. He isn't very dynamic, and can't do fairly simple moves like ducking under something half his height. Picking up bonus objects and keys is needlessly complicated, and also makes it impossible to attack while crouched. These problems smack of lousy design.
The Bottom LineGods is something of an enigma really. There are a lot of nice touches, and some impressive AI routines, but the experience simply strikes me as soul-less and uninteresting. I've read the many positive reviews (including those on here) in the hope of finding something special, but it still seems bland, as if it has brains and (some) brawn, but no heart.
Call it a 'Thinking Man's Action Game' if you like (many do) but it doesn't have as much thinking or action as tonnes of superior titles. Curiously, it seems like the more someone likes Rainbow Islands, the less they enjoy this. They are two very different types of game, for sure, but this can learn a lot in terms of character and pace (contrary to popular belief, fast-paced games needn't lose a strategic element).