After the runaway success of Nodes Of Yesod, a sequel has finally arrived from the Liverpudlian demi-gods (Thor/Odin) in the form of Arc Of Yesod. Once more, the star of the show is the Rt. Hon. Charlemagne 'Charlie' Fortheringham-Grunes, the man who battled bravely against the black slab Monolith in Nodes. Though he battled bravely, Charlie lose the contest, and the Monolith teleported off-world to escape destruction. Luckily, the ionic destruction caused by the Monolith's hasty departure allowed it to be traced to its place of origin: Ariat, a strange alien planet.
Earth is still in danger - if the people of Ariat manage to download the information gathered by the Monolith, they will no doubt take advantage of the detailed knowledge it contains and attack Earth itself. They are believed to have constructed a massive battle cruiser capable of taking out most of the Galaxy. A shuttle, hurriedly prepared, transports Charlie to Ariat. Once again, Charlie has been charged with saving life as we know it - his job is disarm and destroy the Monolith before the Ariatans can retrieve the information it contains.
Paradropping onto Ariatan soil, Charlie finds himself skulking on the outskirts of the city where the Monolith is held. He needs to find some way of reaching the device... the game begins.
Charlie's best line of attack is to get underground and travel to the Security Centre via the large network of caverns and caves that nestle below the city. The surface view of Ariat shows the city in the background set against the night sky. As Charlie moves off the left or right of a screen, a new screen flicks into view. Small manholes are dotted around the city, and Charlie must use them to gain access to the subterranian world in which most of the action takes place.
Charlie is an agile fellow, who can leap and bound quite deftly in the low gravity environment of Ariat. 'Jump' sends our hero skyward into a forward somersault spin, to land firmly on his feet. In conjunction with the left and right keys, this is Charlie's main method of transport - useful when moving around the ledge-filled caverns of Ariat.
With a few well-timed sproings and cavorts, it's possible to negotiate most of the constructions and obstructions found underground. A teleporter system exists within the labyrinth, and Charlie can zoom between locations by stepping into one of the strategically placed teleport units.
Apart from static obstacles, there are mobile nasties that take some dodging. A whole range of strange and weird beasties can be found in the caves, and some nasties float in the atmosphere, while others trog about on the floor. The floor-trogging species of baddy tends to be pretty indestructible. If Charlie walks into one of them, he's bounced all over the cave interior.
Airfloaters disintegrate when touched but, like the ground animals, contact with one costs Charlie some of his essential life energy. He's got four lives, each of which is lost after too much energy has been sapped during encounters with aliens.
A little sine wave pulsing up and down next to the life counter shows how much of the current life's energy remains, and the readout becomes smaller with each clash with the flora and fauna.
A Sphere, or Electronic Mole, fights on Charlie's side. The Sphere is released from Charlie's backpack and can be controlled left, right, up and down. While the Sphere is under your control, Charlie remains immobile. This gadget is a worthy ally, capable of despatching the nasties by bashing into them. It can also open the secret passages that lie behind some walls by bumping into the masonry which conceals them. Charlie's armoury contains Smart Bombs that wipe out most of the baddies in the current cave on detonation.
Charlie needs to gather up eight crystals before he can have a go at dealing with the Monolith - the poor chap's certainly got his work cut out for him...