Sparks, £7.95 cass, joystick only
O Exploration, combat and
is one of a new breed of games which combines adventure
and arcade action in more than just a 'walk round collecting
things' scenario. Here you actually have to figure out
what to do with objects and how.
task is to get together the seven pieces of the Ice
Crown, which are hidden throughout the seven levels
of the Palace, and thus destroy the power of the Ice
Queen. These levels consist of about 170 hexagonal rooms
in a honeycomb arrangement, where about 30 are visible
on screen at once.
character can walk between these rooms and you have
an overview of him Evil Dead style. You also
have the same form of movement by turning left or right
and pushing forward.
are five types of room, marked by different symbols:
empty, swords, firesticks, lakes, and Moline crosses.
The SWORD rooms contain objects and the FIRESTICK rooms
replenish your only weapon, yes, the firestick.
stand in the centre screen hexagon with sword,
firestick and moline cross rooms adjacent.
LAKE and CROSS rooms are impassable and on later levels
form the screen into a maze-type layout which you have
to work a way through. The entrances to some rooms are
blocked so that you have to rotate the adjacent hexagons,
using joystick down, in order to line up two gaps in
the wall an move on.
time to time when you are moving about the Palace, a
warning will sound and various enemies will appear.
You have to destroy or deflect these, since they are
trying to make you evil.
lulls in the action you can access the second screen
of the game, which is where the adventuring takes place.
At the top of this display are indicators of your status.
A crown shows the number of pieces you have and a measure
of your goodness. A skull's eyes light up when there
are nasties on the action screen and a firestick which
turns grey when discharged. Lastly there is a candle
timer which burns down and is your time limit.
adventure screen shows you carrying the
firestick on the right and your menu on the left.
Above them are the crown, skull, candle and
lower half of the display has a list of objects you
are carrying, or are in the room, on the right and a
list of adventure commands on the left. These can be
accessed using the joystick -- blue commands require
an object, while red ones don't.
items which you need are all found in sword rooms and
as you progress through the levels these get harder
and harder to get to. On each level you have to work
out what to use, and how, in order to reveal a piece
of the Crown. If you can't work it out -- and there
are some red herrings -- a help function may give you
a clue to the answer.
time to time the ghost of your dead father, the King,
floats across the screen, and contact with him boosts
your goodness. More of a problem are rooms which occasionally
freeze up and make it difficult to move about.
music is haunting and lovely, while the graphics are
nicely detailed on both the game screens. The actual
problem is movement, and real time has been overcome
quite well, although I wish you could walk diagonally
through the hexagons instead of having to stop and change
direction all the time.