Review by nemesis_

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 11/01/99

A puzzle action-adventure with a lonely feel...

This game is a follow-up to Software Creations' Solstice, on the NES. It is anisometric-view action-adventure wich happens mostly at underground dungeons, wichare divided into several rooms, each one holding its own puzzles. There are enemies, and many puzzles involve you killing all of them in order to open some door, or something. Sounds like Zelda, uh?

Well, there are several differences, mostly cosmetic, true.

First, let's start with the story. The game has a background story indeed, butit's very simple: save your father, a wizard kidnapped by a witch. It's not an RPGby any means and there's no dialogues or characters to chat with in any way. The settings in wich the action occurs resembles that of the Arabian Nights, and yourcharacter, though short and big-headed, is dressed in that way.

Then, there's the gameplay. In the underground dungeons, it resembles Zelda, but the 3/4 perspective realy makes for some very interesting (or boring, it's up to you) puzzles, like when you can't see platforms hidden by a closer-to-the-camera one. It's not bad gameplay because it was intentional from the developers to make it that way. I found it clever, though sometimes tiring. Worst than it however are those puzzles wich require you to jump from moving platform to another one. It requires great timing, and you'll may loose some lifes in toughest ones. Speaking of it, when you die, you restart in that same room with all nemesis and items set. When you clear the room and kill the adversaries, however, they remain dead, thank God!

The other part of the gameplay, smaller, passes at the overworld, wich is where you begin your journey in each of the levels. Each of the leves has its characteristc overworld and dungeon, wich is accessed through several hubs located at the overworld.Each hub connects to an area of the dungeon, but to access other areas, it may be required a key, wich may be located in other area of the dungeon. And so, there's the need to return to the overworld and access other areas by other hubs. There are also foes in the overworld, but when they reach you, you are transported to a combat screen instead of the on-the-spot combat in the dungeons. Combat, however, isn't menu-driven.

Most of the gameplay has you seaching for keys, blasting enemies, and looking fortokens, wich are required to summon the boss of the level, generally huge ones. You beginthe game only with a knife, but you upgrade it not only with more per throw (all the weapons are projectiles) but also to other types, like swords and scimitars. You also have a gooddeal of magic spells to to choose from, like the slow-motion one, and some are required to solve puzzles.

Sound

Very good! Maybe because the game was published by Sony Music, the game boast some of the sounds to grace the SNES. Because the title is not well known, some people may be amazed with Sony sound chip inside the SNES when they hear this one. Try out the trembling Boss tune to have a taste of it! The rest of the tracks, one for each dungeon and one for all the overworlds are more aethereal and mystical and give that sensation of lonelyness that all action-adventure games should have.

Graphics

Short and big-headed characters, though bigger than usual, in dark and mystical environments viewed in an isometric (3/4) perspective. The environments change from dark medieval dungeons to swamps and Icy Caves or Egyptian tombs. The graphics are nice, in a short word, but i'd prefer a less comical looking hero for this kind of game.

Controls

Thankfully, though an isometric game, there are only 4 directions, wich are conveyed through the tradicional up-down-left-right pad, not the diagonals, thank God! Other buttons make you jump shoot your weapon or use magic. It looks like jumping is a major problem in many action-oriented titles, and though this one is more puzzle-oriented, it is no different.Jumping is a bit loose, and may be a major headache in those parts of platform jumping puzzles. Also, there's a strange bug wich make your character kind of float when jumping beetween a platform and wall or two platforms close together, but i think it's more of a collision detection problem than a control one.

Gameplay

Mostly Zelda-ish. 'Nuff said.

One final tip, the sound is great and very atmospheric, but kinda low.So, play it loud.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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