E-motion (US Gold) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

Your Sinclair

By U. S. Gold
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Your Sinclair #53


Once upon a time (well, during that grey and rather murky decade they call the '70s actually) a horrible little factory somewhere began producing some equally horrible little lamps. These lamps were filled with mobile oil bubbles which floated in a bright orange solution of hideous greasy gloop, and they quickly became the most ultra-hip 'sitting room' accesory of the period. They were foul, they really were.

Well, E-Motion is nothing like that. (Well, okay, they've both got a load of floating spherical objects but nothing else.) In fact, E-Motion isn't really like any other game I've ever seen so describing the blooming thing might prove a tad difficult. Oh well, here goes.

(Long pause.) Imagine a big black space. Now put in a few round balls inscribed with different geometrical shapes and add a funny round little geezer as a control pod. Then link them together with funny string things (A bit like Klackers actually. Ed). A doddle so far. Okay, here's the tricky bit. The little round control pod has to zoom around the black screen bumping and shoving identical balls into one another. "Why?" I hear you ask. Because if it doesn't manage it in time the balls start flashing like crazy and explode, zapping all the pod's energy and leaving you minus one life.

And there's more. For starters, the pod suffers from inertia so unless you're a bit of a whizz-kld with the old twizzle-stick you're much more likely to go sailing straight past your target (whizz) and swearing (%'@!) than actually hitting the er... balls. Secondly, if two different spheres collide by accident (and this tends to happen rather a lot at first) they generate a cute little baby ball. These turn into bigger pubescent balls after a few seconds but if you get them while they're small they pop a bit extra onto your energy bar. Thirdly, the screen actually wraps around itself so the snappiest route from ball to ball isn't always the most obvious one. For example, if you want to get a sphere on the left over to the right, it might actually be quicker to shove it off the left-hand side of the screen (a bit like Asteroids actually). Clever, eh?

And there's even more! In the interests of some really major trickiness, those cheeky chappies at US Gold have conjured up loads of extras, like impassable barriers and natty little pick-up pills which have a sort of absorbent effect. Instead of going round bashing the balls you just kind of suck them up. And even more confusing are the pieces of elastic. These connect some of the balls and both the control pods to each other in two-player mode. Pulling one end usually results in the other sproinging like crazy all around the screen, making a general pig's ear of the whole thing.

It all adds up to an extremely spanky little puzzler with a multitude of levels and some very spiffy game design. There's not much to comment on in the way of sound or graphics but the crucial thing is the physics and, by crikey, have they got it right. The spheres move exactly like they should, especially when they're tied to the 'rubber bands', and the collision detection is absolutely on the ball. Unfortunately, there is one irritating tendency in that it plays a snip too s-l-o-o-o-w when there are lots of sprites about, but that's not too much of a handicap.

There are some people who wouldn't like a puzzle game if it jumped up and bit them on the bottom. E-Motion won't be everybody's mug of steaming Rosie Lee but with so much variety and manic action this is an excellent excuse to give your lil' ol' trigger finger a hard-earned rest.

Don't be a turkey - go check it out.

A triffic load of balls which tests your mental and your manual skills. A real love it or hate it game.

Kati Hamza