CEZ Games Studio's latest release pushes SirClive's Amstrad tolerance to the edge...
When James offered me the chance of reviewing the new game from Spanish coders CEZ Games Studio I was delighted. After raving about their superb Cannon Bubble on the Spectrum back in RGCD #02, I was expecting big things.
But what's this? They've only gone and released it on the Amstrad CPC! Now a lot of people have the impression that I foster a burning hatred for Alan Sugar's 8-Bit also-ran, but that really isn't true. Whilst I will admit that it pales in comparison to my beautiful Spectrum or the all-powerful C64, I will play a good game on any machine (except a Spectrum +2, but that's a whole different rant). So I dutifully dusted off my favourite CPC emulator and loaded up the game.
The loading screen is a reasonable representation of the inlay art so my hopes were still high. The intro screen then presented me with some Spanish text, which after a quick visit to a translation website I was disappointed to find that it didn't mean 'Vulva the Super Fishy'. Nevertheless, the option screen was nicely presented and offers a choice of joystick or re-definable keys and then it's off into the game where your goal is to guide a poor little air bubble in its eternal quest to reach the ocean surface. Trapped in an undersea cave you must make you way to the exit avoiding the various sea creatures that are trying to block your way. As bubbles naturally rise upwards, the controls are simple: left, right and descend.
Sound good so far? Well let's just pause at this point and enjoy the positivity. Because it isn't going to last...
The in-game graphics are OK, but just OK. The fish, crabs and jellyfish are all recognisable but lack any kind of polish. There is a small amount of fun to be had navigating through the caves, but the game is just too tedious. There is so little variation that by level 3 you will be fed up and by level 6 you will be suicidal. I haven't a clue how many levels there are as I could only stand to play up to level 7. The worst part of the game however is the music, which is a dreadful collection of 'tune-a-day' songs that any parent with a child learning an instrument will loathe. Unfortunately they also sound like they are being played by a tone deaf six year old (whilst riding a unicycle, blindfolded with both hands tied behind their back).
I do feel a little guilty slating a game that some poor soul has slaved over out of the goodness of their heart. It's not like they are expecting me to pay for it, but after the masterpiece that was Cannon Bubble, Aqua is a disappointment of biblical proportions. Let's just hope that this is a temporary blip for CEZ Game Studios. Or better still, that they stick to Spectrum games.