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This sort of 'fringe' program may have its adherents but I can't really see it being a big hit with most computer owners, simply because it isn't absorbing enough in the end. Well, it is fun for a bit, but things like this smack too much of telly watching, the player is not really a participant despite the ability to 'play' with the graphics that
Tubular Bells allows. So unless you enjoy playing with light -- and after a few goes it's pretty limited really -- then Tubular Bells is unlikely to appeal greatly.

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Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Tubular Bells
1986 Computer Rentals Limited (CRL)
Programmed by ?
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the sixteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: July 10th, 1986).
 

TUBULAR BELLS
Nu Wave, 7.95 cass, keys only


This program isn't so much a game but more of sort of 'light entertainment' in both meanings of the word. What the program does is get the Commodore's good old SID chip to belt out the various tunes from Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album while giving a sort of light display, or, as we are informed on the inlay, 'a combination of music and kinetic interactive chromo visual designs'.

After the program has loaded pressing the space bar sets it off and immediately the first track on the Tubular Bells album belts out and a series of parallel lines whizz about the screen at high speed. Pressing the space bar repeatedly cycles through the various tracks.

The light bar thunders about at high velocity, ricocheting oft the sides of the screen and generally whooping it up. There is no direct control over its movement but the entertainee can change the symmetry of the lines, length of the line's tail, colours (up to four colours at once), the gap in between the lines, or the computer take control over what's if he or she just happens to feel lazy at the time. There is another option which toggles between line and 'laser' mode, laser being a very fast moving dot which speeds its way around the screen leaving a trail of dots behind it. When the computer takes control over the light show it changes the colours, symmetry etc randomly so an ever changing display is shown.

Again symmetry etc can be changed to suit the user's requirements. Basically there are four types of symmetry; none at all (a single set of lines), horizontal mirror image, vertical mirror image and a combination of both mirror images. Clever use of symmetry can give rise to some very jolly patterns indeed.

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The light display on this program is the most notable thing about it -- it's quite jolly and provides a bit of fun for a minute or ten but after that it tends to bore. The music is highly disappointing and Clever Music have used
Wizardry voices in the Mike Oldfield tunes which make them sound rather samey. I suppose the best thing to do is turn down the volume of your telly and play your own tunes to it, but if you really want an alternative light show then try Psychedelia -- it's far more interactive and varied.
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If Tubular Bells was more interactive and had better music then I would certainly class it as alternative entertainment at its best. But, unfortunately it isn't, since although the various effects are very pretty to look at for ten minutes or so, it does become quite tedious shortly thereafter, regardless of what state of mind you are in. The awful rendition of the Tubular Bells album doesn't help much, either. No, I think Mr Minter's Psychedelia still has the edge in what is a very limited field of binary entertainment. Still, I can't blame CRL for trying. Well, I could but I won't.
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Presentation 82%

Informative title screen nicely laid out.

Graphics 76%
Nice whizzy lines effect which can give some quite pretty patterns.

Sound 69%
Very disappointing Mike Oldfield renditions which could have been a lot better
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Hookability 71%
Dead easy to get into.

Lastability 23%
But it doesn't half get boring after a while.

Value For Money 29%
Far too expensive for what it offers.

Overall 44%
Pretty, but boring.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (16 Aug 2006)

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