The latest cheapie from Firebird looks graphically a bit like the classic Spectrum games Knightlore and Alien 8, although the game itself is a lot larger (about 200 screens).
You take the role of Cylu who's on a quest for fame and fortune. Opportunity knocks when his people, the Otsan of Evol, need a new leader with wits, speed, logic and cunning. They don't care much who or what it is as long as the applicant passes their test, designed to prove worthiness for leadership, ie wits, speed, logic and cunning. A pretty tough test it is too - you have to collect 24 objects scattered about a very large maze and return them to the starting point. No mean feat, but then you are going for a pretty good position!
The maze itself has many traps and puzzles that have to be worked out en route. Just for starters are the 32 forcefields, passed only by finding and loading the correct processor (CPU) into the main computer's I/O unit which is located in the start room. When a forcefield is approached, pressing for EXAMINE results in a code number appearing or the CPU required and then you can go and find it. There are also parts of the maze which can only be reached by using the teleport system. Of course, you need to find the key to the system ... life is so-o-o hard.
To make life just a little more difficult is the constant threat of losing it by running out of energy. As he's moving about, Cylu constantly loses energy (shown as a bar on screen). This has to be topped up regularly by using the power pods scattered around the maze. Objects, like power pods, may be picked up by entering a number whereupon the object collected is indicated by appearing in one of five coloured boxes at the top right of the screen (the maximum number you can carry at one time). To use an object you have to input the number of that object on the keyboard and then it's under your control.
Moving Cylu is done with a rotation and forward movement control, similar to Asteroids - you have to rotate Cylu left or right until he's facing the direction you want and then push forwards on the joystick to send him trundling off in the direction he's facing.
During the game, an efficiency rating is given that rises and falls depending on how well you're doing. Obviously, the faster you find things and use them, the higher your efficiency will be. The higher that figure, the nearer you are to fame and fortune ...
This kind of 3D always looks a bit unrelieved because although the rooms' colours are individual, everything in a room, including Cylu, is the same colour all over. This tends to make it a trifle hard to spot what is what at times. I didn't really like the movement control either, it may work fine on something simple like Asteroids, but in 3D game it can be disorientating. In general, the graphics are neat and move quite nicely, the sound is clunky and very limited, and Cylu needs to devour power packs at a prodigious rate. I didn't really like Cylu that much, but at the same time, if you like mapping games and mazes, then at the price it's not too bad either.
When I first saw this I thought it very similar to Knightlore. On further playing I discovered the similarity only went as far as the graphics. The game may have heaps of screens, but each room is really small, taking up less space than half the Commodore screen. The game itself is very hard, the control fiddly, and having to keep powering up Cylu every few minutes was a real pain. I suppose it's another cartographer's delight, but not one I'd really recommend, even at its cheap price.
Really this is a very simple graphical adventure, made complicated only by its sheer size and by the addition of typical adventure problems like having to 'eat' every so many moves. I must say that I quite enjoyed it, but with so many rooms (all very similar) and the 3D graphics, a lot of gameplay elements have inevitably gone missing - and the lack tends to show up after a bit of play. Still, at its budget price, not bad value at all if you have a rainy afternoon to while away.
Plenty of options, instructions etc.
Nice 3D attempt but everything's the same colour!
Moving about takes a while and Cylu's too dependent on power.
Rather dull with limited appeal.
Value For Money 72%
Even at two fifty it's not too hot.
Just above average aardvark.