Chimera (Firebird) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Chimera
By Firebird
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #4

Chimera

Pronounced 'kymeera', this oddly-titled game is an arcade adventure set aboard an alien spaceship. In both scenario and appearance, it's reminiscent of Alien 8 with a similar little robot who trundles around a 3D ship trying to initiate a self-destruct sequence and then escape before it explodes.

Self-destruct is initiated by a four stage sequence. Each stage is completed by using a number of objects, but you've got to work out what to do with them. The only other thing you're told is that the first object you need to use is a spanner.

The robot you control is a chunky little fellow who moves diagonally in four directions on screen. The screens are in 3D and the perspective means they are diamond shaped. Within the rooms is a marvellous assortment of obstacles, objects and dangers, all well designed and colourful. The screens are connected by doorways, so that walking through a blank area of the room will flick you to another location. The robot can walk in front of and behind other features but because he can't jump he doesn't walk on them.

The task before him is mainly one of puzzling in the true arcade adventure sense and very little arcade skill is required, although moving him around and into gaps can be tricky. It follows a basic pattern of picking up an object and using it to (a) open up a new area of the ship, (b) combine with another object or (c) provide information or energy.

The robot has two ways of dying - either by his food and water running out or by trying to perform an action at the wrong stage of the game. Food and water supplies are shown on two separate gauges which continuously diminish. These run out faster in certain situations which you will rapidly become familiar with. Rooms with radiators affect the water supply which starts to shoot down very fast. They should be avoided whenever possible.

There are additional supplies lying around the ship in the form of bread and mugs of drink but these are limited in availability and should not be wasted since they may have other uses. If either of the supplies reaches zero you have to start all over again. Other useful objects are small computer terminals that provide information on your next task, but again they should be saved until you're really in need of help.

Many blocks will be found in your path: electric fences, locked doors, hourglasses and even the odd toaster. These can all be dealt with by walking up to them with the right object and using it. If, however, you have the wrong object then you'll probably cash in your chips and have to start again. Many objects, including food and water, may be masked by other bits of the scenery so that the robot will have to search about behind some areas to find things.

When you succeed in achieving something a scrolling message informs you of it and sometimes tells you what you should do next. Under this scrolling message area is the status box showing food and water supply, what you're carrying and the score.

Good News

P. 64 colourful screens.
P. Many difficult puzzles to solve.
P. Alien 8-type graphics with more adventure.
P. Excellent graphics and character.
P. Nice price.
P. Tougher and prettier than most games twice the price.

Bad News

N. Looks very "Ultimate"ish.
N. Will prove frustrating if you get stuck.

Second Opinion

A little joystick programming hitch had me wandering around left when I pressed up, right when I pressed left and so on. But once I corrected that, I found Chimera to be a very classy game and excellent value at the price. It really does require some powerful deductive skills to figure out not just what objects do individually, but in what order they are the most effective. Arcade action is thin on the ground, so steer clear if you want to kill things. One thing I would have liked to see is a more detailed scenario, however nonsensical, to explain how I got in this mess in the first place. But you can't have everything for £3.95.

Cryptic Chimera

There are some complicated puzzles in the game and we didn't want to give too much away, but here are some clues that may help you out if you get stuck.

  1. You've heard of throwing a spanner in the works? Well this one can make sparks fly.
  2. Don't waste good cooking heat, give it something to work on.
  3. The companion to a nut will provide a killer head.
  4. Task number one is completed in a sad room.

Bob Wade