Matra is looking to the stars for new game concepts, but Dave E definitely doesn't think Being Left Is Not Right is one of them.Being Left Is Not Right
My interest is always piqued when I read the instructions for a new game and they sound genuinely different. Being Left Is Not Right has a rather startling premise. Instead of playing a single game, you play two of them - at the same time. On the left of the screen, you have a fairly basic shoot-'em-up and on the right a fairly basic platform game. You're invited to see if you can divert your concentration between the two. Have you played enough shoot-'em-ups that you recognise when you can take advantage of a few seconds' worth of break? Have you played enough platformers that you know where you can stand in safety for a few seconds?
Unlike the usual run-of-the-mill homebrew games, the premise itself does sound rather fascinating. It's not like the two games are completely separate either - they are linked, rather loosely, by a sort of 'spacey' theme. Each screen is a rescue mission for a colonist on a distant planet, and the barrier down the centre of the playing area will only disappear when both the ship's "mission" and the colonist's "mission" are both complete. As the instructions point out, a friend can give you a hand, and it's obviously going to be a lot easier if he does, but where's the ingenuity in that? No, let's stick with this fascinating concept of one player playing two games at the same time, cleverly switching his attention between the two... It's an idea so simple, it's difficult to understand why no-one has ever thought of it before!
There's obviously one big question: Does it work? And the answer is...
Of course not!
The whole premise is too stupid for words. Is it possible to sing your favourite Eighties song whilst simultaneously discussing the results of yesterday's football match? Is it possible to stick a book in each hand and read a different page with each eye? No, of course it isn't! Because you've only got one mouth, and you've only got one brain. Perceived wisdom says different areas of the brain are responsible for different activity (i.e. left brain/right brain) but I've never read any literature that ever suggested we can split the brain and, in real time, use different areas of it to control different elements of a task!
The games themselves are nothing special. They are smooth enough and the background music is certainly phenomenal but, taken as independent units they are like something that would've rolled off the production line back in 1983. The shoot-'em-up is a black space in which you have a few aliens bouncing around, and the platform game is a few ladders and levels. Everything has to be squashed into half the screen real estate that it would otherwise have control of, making for insanely cramped playing areas. Coupled with the so-called "skills" this game demands, your ship is usually offed sooner rather than later. Or, to put it another way, you'll stay alive until you have to look away from the left hand side of the screen. As soon as you do, bang you're dead.
To be honest, further words fail me. It would be great if Matra had actually cottoned onto a real new game concept - the next Tetris, Klax, Flappy Bird or Candy Crush, for example. This isn't a game concept at all. It's just ridiculous. All that can be said for it, is that, mercifully, every game is over extremely quickly.