Hmmm. To the trained eye, there are resemblances between this game and Software Projects' Manic Miner. Actually, the resemblances are visible to the *untrained* eye. Leaving this aside, what's the game like?
Well, at first I thought it was some kind of sick joke perpetrated by a warped programmer who hated gamers. I mean, a whole evening and I hadn't even got through the first screen! Perseverance paid off though, and I finally made it. Level 2 have just as much trouble, except that I still kept losing men on Level 1 so I had even fewer chances to practise this new screen.
No new men are provided for completing a screen, or scoring a certain number of points, so the further you get into the game, the harder it is to crack the subsequent screens. Surely a practice mode allowing you to jump directly to the screen of your choice would be sensible? Continually going through the same lower levels just to get one man onto screen three (to die seconds later!) is not very motivating!
The game structure, as I've said, is modelled closely on Manic Miner. The storyline is that the burglar has to crack the safe in each screen (the equivalent of the exists in Manic Miner) by collecting, you've guessed it, keys. Your character can move left, right and jump, and many of the scenes and hazards are straight lifts from Miner. For example, clumps of vegetation, conveyor belts, melting platforms, Skylab, telephones... and so on.
The background tune is even more irritating than Manic Miner's, but luckily you can turn it off.
This is a very hard game, and I'm not sure whether that's a strength or a weakness. If you're as stubborn as me you'll stick to it just to prove you can't be beaten. On the other hand, I just don't believe it's possible to complete all twenty levels with only five lives. Especially when you have no practice mode and are killed out of hand for a milli-second's error of judgement. Five lives per screen might be fairer!
Come on Alligata, give us a break in the future!