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Neat stuff! Graphically excellent and it plays better than it looks. It's a strange mix of an arcade adventure and a sort of shoot em up which requires a fair bit of brainwork and deft digits to sur-vive. Everything has been nicely thought out -- the scenery, the objective and the means by which you achieve it -- and the whole program is enjoyable and challenging to play. I wasn't too keen on the title screen music, it's impressive but drawn out. The in-game music and sound effects are great though. If you're an arcade adventurer or shoot em up fanatic then check it out.

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Wow! The opening title sequence is really heavy on the eyes. The game itself is a real dream to watch and very exciting to play. This is probably the most accurate game to be called an arcade adventure, as you'll need both amazing reflexes and a fair bit of grey matter if you are to survive. I am really impressed by the game as a whole. A lot of careful planning has obviously gone into the playability content, as it does not become frustrating: when you've solved a level once you need not do so again -- you can simply battle on through the various levels until you finally reach the end. But don't get too complacent, it's not going to be easy!

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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!
Parallax
1986 Ocean
Programmed by Chris Yates
 
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the eighteenth issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (street date: September 11th, 1986).
 

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PARALLAX
Ocean, 8.95 cass, 12.95 disk, joystick with keys


As moons swirl wildly in the infinite void of space, and light slowly creeps through the misty shutters of your space probe, everything becomes clear. You have been abandoned on an artificial world with five experienced astronauts. Unfortunately, they have been spread throughout five broad zones: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon.

On investigation, the inhabitants appear friendly enough. But then you stumble across some vital information which reveals plans for an imminent attack upon Earth. In a desperate attempt to break free and report the information, you need to make contact with your allies in the other zones and eventually escape via the portal in Epsilon.

To enable you to move around this strange artificial world, you are in possession of the spacecraft IBIS. With this highly manoeuvrable ship you can shoot around the planet's surface and locate the codes which will enable you to leave Alpha and progress onto Beta, and so on. Spread throughout the world are several hangars housing letters which build up to give you the password.

The letters are hidden away in huge computers -- the Big Ones -- and to log onto these you need a Kard. These Kards are in the possession of scientists and, as you can imagine, they are not exactly ready and willing to hand them over. So, you need to stun the scientists long enough to allow you to pinch their Kard and infiltrate the computer systems.

Being abandoned on an inhospitable planet is obviously not a good start -- your only friend is money in the form of credits. You start with n measly 20 credits, with which you can buy a Bonanza Survival Pack containing all sorts of oddments that should keep you alive . . . hopefully! These Bonanza Packs can be bought from one of the many Computashops which also reside in the hangars. Luckily the Scientists' Kards also give you access to their bank accounts, so you need not go short.

Exploration is not the whole of the game, no, the main section of the game is more concerned with flying around the surface of the zones, blasting aliens into the middle of next week! Flying skills are also all important since landing outside a hangar can be quite tricky when faced with a landing area which is little larger than the size of the ship.

Aliens impede your progress as they unleash their weaponry in an attempt to damage the IBIS, and they must be destroyed with your laser gun or avoided. Black Holes reside on the planet surface and are represented by murky black squares. When flown through in the correct direction they will give you a sudden burst of speed; passing through in the opposite direction causes your speed to decrease. Hyperspace Ports are also very useful since they cause the IBIS to be randomly transported elsewhere on the same level.

Once you have all the pieces of the code word, you must then locate the Central Computer, shown by a block with a large letter C on it -- but beware, some of them are only dummies. Once a real Central Computer is located you can then leave the ship, make your way to the hangar alongside the central computer and, with the help of a drugged scientist, access the terminal and type in the relevant code.

Once the computer has processed and accepted the code you can fly onto the Beta zone. Again, you will have to find the code word, but this time the layout of the artificial world is more complicated -- almost a maze.

Once you have discovered the relevant code word for a level, you can enter it at any time without having to interrogate a scientist again, thus saving valuable time and energy. Energy can also be preserved by inducing shields, but these eat up your fuel at an alarming rate.

Scores are built up by shooting turrets and aliens -- which may be on the surface, flying, or 'underground'. Some scenery cannot be flown over, and extensive damage is caused should you attempt to do so.

     

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What a neat game. It looks good (the Electric Sea on level four is cool) and sounds superb (the title screen music is amazing, although it does go on a bit). It's also great fun to play. The programmers have a strange sense of humour (as demonstrated by their last game, Galaxibirds) which I found appealing -- Drugging Scientist (ho ho) (!). Some of the 'traps' are really mean on later levels, and many a time I found myself cursing 'Cuddly Chrix' and 'Jovial Jops'. Parallax is an unusual blend of three types of the finest genre, and I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone who likes a shoot em up with a bit more 'up'. Licensed characters -- who needs 'em
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Presentation 94%

Great title screen and many neat in-game features.

Graphics 82%
Competent sprites and backdrops with effective parallax scrolling.

Sound 93%
Good FX and jingles, and a weird but wonderful
piece of music on the title screen.

Hookability 90%
The instructions need to be read, but it's easy enough to work out what to do without them.

Lastability 93%
Tough, demanding, and very playable.

Value For Money 92%
A worthy buy -- if you've got a tenner you can still buy another copy of ZZAP! with the change.

Overall 93%
A neat mix between a shoot em up and an arcade adventure, with a few other things thrown in for good measure.
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Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (1 Mar 2010)
Only the first three of above screenshots existed in the original review.

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