• Graphics
  • Sound
  • Playability
  • Lastability
ReviewPaul and Jeff

Main review

Flashbacks, nostalgia, youth; all the words I thought of when I loaded up this little remake, was I to be impressed, was I to get disappointed? Firstly, the game itself is very well presented, I do feel they spent a lot of time on the intro. With a game like this, even having a little intro would suffice as I feel most of the people who download it will remember the original. If the game is that good, you would know who it was by. None the less the intro was quite good. using techniques from the game to bring all the letters into place.

I liked the effect on the main menu, the rain drop effect, and the way the names of the creators appear in the back ground, I have always liked that effect (using 3 colours and overlapping them). One thing I didn’t like about the main menu was I couldn’t go from top to bottom for quick access to the “Back” option, I would have liked a quick view or control change from within the game, as I forgot what “pick up” was and had to quit to see. So a quick button that would display the controls (after pausing the game) would help the players.

Onto the graphics, presentation would appear to be a high aspect of this game, as the graphics what I saw were very nice and clean, a lot of them almost exact to the original but with the obvious face-lift of a pc. Some of the floor graphics were slightly different, but the principle was there – I noticed the saw-tooth effect and thought nope I ain’t falling there. Colours were well used and in the right places and the artist didn’t go over the top; modern graphics cards and powerful processors allow you to have all kids of effects (just like in most recent games) but I felt, as the developers seem to, that this wasn’t required.

Now the music, title music first; you have an up-to-date version of the original tune, which is nice, I enjoyed that, and immediately started to whistle along like I did back in the old days – c’mon, you all must all do that when you hear a tune you remember! After a few minutes, the in-game music had me reaching for the speaker on/off button, it took far too long to reach a point in the tune that sounded like it was ready to get ya going and then jumped back to the “weeaaawwwww” (which is the only way I can describe it, you’d need to hear it to understand) And where does that owl sound come into things? I think because the original didn’t have an in-game tune, I found it a bit weird to have one, and I missed the little “ice-cream” tune each time I changed rooms too.

Now, what can I say about gameplay? Well, like the original it’s easy to get to grips with but hard to get those jumps just right whilst knowing the slow fall to the floor is going to get your back caught on an enemy or toaster! It is strangely addictive but, on the flip side of that, when you get to a certain screen where you just can’t get that jump right it can turn you to the dark side – well sort of, more the side where you want to turn off the game. And then you have that “I can’t get past” thought as you load the game up the next time, again the original had that appeal so the creators have mimicked it exactly.

There was one noticeable bug, landing on door frames is something I could never do that on the c64 version (as to other version’s I don’t know, I will have to come back to you on that) As for the detection of enemies and springs, etc, that seemed fine, although I presume it is using the same collision routine. So does that mean that all those times I was dying wasn’t my fault? Ok, I’ll stick with that explanation, makes me feel better.

Lastability, hmm, now this is a weird one; most isometric puzzle games have a high lastabilty factor only for the fact that, if you can’t complete a puzzle, it is your fault and the answer is there so you just have to find it. So I’d say for this game, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys that sort of frustration, you could play this game for quite a while without having to put it down. I know whilst I’m writing this review, I keep flicking back to the game just for a little bit more of it.

Second opinion

Right. Remakes. A dangerous territory really because you have to follow the original closely but you’re always expected to improve the original somehow, so how does this one fare? Let’s start with the good.

The first thing that hits you is the graphics. They are simply amazing. A lot of very loving attention has gone into capturing all the themes of the original and really improving them in a way that has to be seen to be believed. After a few rounds of this remake I went back and played the Commodore 64 version and picked out several little graphic details that I’d never even noticed before. That is a sign of true excellence and something which I have very high praise for.

Unfortunately, that’s really about the only improvement that has been made here. The sound, which could have been amazing feels a bit rushed. The title tune is a nice idea, but it sounds a little empty. The in-game music is bland and pointless, but the sound effects are just plain nasty. Some are just out of place, like the cutesy childish “uh-oh” when you die. Some are just plain missing, like when you pick up a rabbit, which really needs a sound of some sort. Some, however, are violently intrusive, like the hideous springboard sound which if you’re unfortunate enough to be wearing headphones will actually cause some pain. I was. It hurt.

Game-wise, a fair few tweaks have been made. All of these are a bit silly; a few of the screens have been changed, for the most part it doesn’t make much difference but a few screens which were easy are now extremely hard and vice versa. The collision has been turned from “tight but fair” to “brutally murder anyone who comes vaguely near”. You really notice this on the screens where you have to get on a lift, (since they have been inexplicably slowed down to a crawl), with a robot hounding at your tail or when you have to jump from the edge of the platform. There are other strange alterations like being able to jump straight up with Head (one of the characters) and not having your character walk right through the doorway on a new screen, which often meant you had to think carefully about which door to take since sometimes you couldn’t get back when this happened. But by far the worst thing is the extension of the screen border. For some bizarre reason, you can now walk around the edge of the playing area, on top of the doors and such. It sounds unimportant but it means a few of the maze puzzles are now pointless and you can lose lives when you least expect it by accidentally bumping into the door frame during a jump and plummeting to your doom.

The game is very very pretty with lots of clever little graphics routines, water ripples, fade effects, dynamic lighting and shadows (which occasionally have clipping errors), but it feels like a graphics demonstration with little care for the actual game. The fade effect which changes the background of your information panel when you get transported to a new area is wonderful, but why does it affect both characters rather than one going somewhere? Why do both panels have to have the same background?

It’s all so pretty but even that seems a bit pointless. I really wish I could say that this is a well made remake, but with those horrible sounds and strange changes, I just can’t. It’s lovely graphics with..well…err…just think of it as lovely graphics I guess.