A t last! I thought the day would never come, an original Amiga game! A new form of 3D. No violence. No other human opponent! Instead you have to work your way through 9,999 3D landscapes, defeating the huge monolith on each, by first absorbing its underlings, and then absorbing the big guy. The controls are simple. Point to where you want to go and then press the transfer button. It is strategic! It is big! It will take a long time to complete! (It is a bit like Sentinel, actually).
In days of old, the Elders (well, who else would you expect?) were a bit fed up with their boring everyday lives. So they daydreamed, their mental power being such that they could walk into each other’s minds – and so they did, each creating a little piece of land within their craniums. Slowly, and after months of hard thought, these islands became real (that is what I call positive thinking). As with almost everything else in life, they soon got bored of the islands and imagined a planet that hung forever in the sky, forever pointing the way North. This too became reality, life flourished life on the planet, and the flourished lifeforms saw the archipelagi (is that right?), and they liked them, and took over, destroying anything that tried to win them back.
The aliens have long since gone, but they still hold power over the islands through the mutations they have left behind them. Mobile trees, patches of acidic blood and a couple of interesting small, ball-like creatures wander around the edges of the islands, removing the land as they move. Lost souls sweep around in the form of whirlwinds, contact bringing death.
To top it all, the overall’ God’ on each of the 9,999 arch’s is a pointed, rather phallic lump of rock called a monolith. To beat the monolith, you have to find and destroy all the rocks that are littered about. To destroy a rock, it has to be linked on an island that is not connected to the monolith – it is Populous time again – you have to build land. This is easy. Just put the cursor over wherever you want. If there is no land, you put down sand. If sand is there, you put down land.
When you have taken out the last rock, you have a 90 second time limit to get to the monolith and remove it by absorption. Do that, and you get to go onto the next level.
Looking at the screenshots, you must admit this game really does look like something special, and it is. But I was expecting a game so deep and involving that you could play it for hours into the night and emerge the next morning covered in cold sweat. Sadly it is not that complex. It is an aspirational test which has very shallow gameplay, and it is one that quickly grows tiresome.
The graphics are amazing, apart from the way day changes into the night and vice versa. The feeling of distance is incredible, thanks to ‘mist-o-matico-vision-colour’. The colour is graduated, not completely dissimilar to the system implemented on the Archimedes version of Zarch. This, plus the perfect sprite sizing in relation to distance, makes the game a visual treat.
The sound is not worth interrupting your mum as she washes out the Heinz beef and Custard Baby food that your little sister has poured over her. The Lost Souls make a wailing, whining sound.
What a shame the game does not live up to expectations. Do not get me wrong, I am not slagging it. It is good, and worth trying out. It is just not what it could have been..
CU Amiga, June 1989, p.p.48-49
Logotron, Amiga £24.99
In times long past mysterious beings known only as the Ancients watched over an eternally tropical world, their leisured thoughts creating ten thousand Archipelagos.
When they tired of that they populated a nearby planet. These people eventually came to the world of the Archipelagos as the Visitors.
On each Archipelago the Visitors placed an Obelisk. The Ancients disliked this intrusion and unsuccesfully attempted to de-imagine the Visitors.
Soon after this the Visitors left, but only after first slaughtering the Ancients. While they slept the Ancients were turned to stone and their blood drained into the soil.
You enter this tormented world floating a metre above the ground with the objective of cleansing all ten thousand Archipelagos of the Visitors' presence. To do this you must destroy the Obelisk on every island, but this is only possible after each of the stones which give it power are disintergrated. Stones are invulnerable unless connected to the Obelisk, so sometimes vast land bridges have to be created. Once all the stones have been destroyed, by absorbing their energy, you have 90 seconds to get the Obelisk.
You move around the world by placing a cursor on a square, pressing a mouse button instantly transports you there. This is all relatively easy, but you must be wary of trees. As they rise and fall they move toward you, along with the lethal virus which turns the land red and kills you on contact. Also lethal is the sand and sea. If you complete a level you go to the next; the game automatically remembers how far you go, so there's no need to write codes down to get back to the last level you completed.
As you get further into the game the dangers increase. Necromancers are ghosts of the Ancients and wander around taking away the land directly underneath them.
Blood Eggs first appear on Archipelago 20 and hatch extremely lethal spirits with a clap of thunder and lightning.
Even more fearsome Lost Souls which are like whirlwinds, contact with them brings death!
Zzap! Issue 51, July 1989, p.67