Future Shock (Tynesoft) Review | Everygamegoing - Everygamegoing


Future Shock
By Tynesoft

Published in EGG #013: Acorn Electron

Future Shock

If I tell you that the hero of Future Shock is called Glob, this alone probably reveals a great measure of the type of game you'll be getting. Namely, not something to be taken all that seriously.

The backstory is so confusing, and the instructions on the inlay card are so unclear, that I'm not going to attempt to repeat them here. In simple terms, Future Shock is a flick-screen graphic adventure combined with a simple sliding block puzzle. You control a big, disembodied head with anime-style eyes. You collect up flashing "P"s scattered throughout the rooms and, once you've found all sixteen of them, you switch to the puzzle game and piece the sixteen puzzles pieces together.

And if that all sounds a bit too similar to the last graphic adventure you played on the Electron, well, don't be too hasty. There's a lot to see here.

Future Shock

The team behind Future Shock calls itself The Art Crew, and that's quite fitting because this is one of the most graphically bedazzling games I've ever seen. Like Audiogenic's Bug Eyes II, this isn't always the predictable "exit right room b, appear left room c" affair; often the act of exiting a room introduces an unexpected animation. For example, Glob suddenly roof-surfing over a row of taxis, or being flung to a great height on a traditional see-saw after a huge anvil is dropped on the other end. Also like Bug Eyes II, the graphics have a very pixelated look to them, and some of the patrolling enemies are cameo appearances from other Tynesoft games. I recognised Raj from Vindaloo and the duck from Ian Botham's Test Match instantly.

Something else identical between the two games is the method of control. Z moves Glob left, X moves him right, and all up and down movement through the rooms is achieved by way of falling through holes or moving onto elevators, or big squares, that zig-zag around the room and carry Glob wth them as they go.

In fact, let's just address the elephant in the room directly. Future Shock is definitely running quite a lot of Bug Eyes II code, or the other way around. One game is clearly a modification of the other... but that's no bad thing because Bug Eyes II is good, but Future Shock is even better.

Future Shock

Why? Well, Future Shock has animation sequences, but it keeps them to a minimum, whereas Bug Eyes II has so many of them they they become tiresome. Future Shock has the puzzle game as well as the collect-'em-up. And Glob's energy is represented as a rather nice candle, which burns down on contact with the patrolling nasties whilst you get a short burst of Clint Black singing Burn One Down in full stereo. That last bit was in a dream I had, sorry.

Soundwise, you only get spot effects (such as a fluttering noise when Glob is losing energy) but the game doesn't really need anything more. As for playability, it doesn't really commit any cardinal sins. The very simple controls make most of the game about accurate positioning of Glob over anything else. When Glob needs to go up from one room to another, it's one of those games where it's not enough to move onto a platform, he must also move left/right with that platform. Moving from a platform in one room to a platform is another, without being able to jump, is particularly challenging.

Overall, it's quite a fun little game. When your candle burns to its stub, you're philosophically asked "Who wants to live forever?" rather than "Game Over". To start a new game, "thump Space". And so on. It's a game you play with a smile on your face, the Katamari Damacy of its day if you will. You can't help but like it. A&B Computing certainly did, enthusing "this is a class act all the way" and Electron User found it "overflows with character and humour".

The physical version of it came in a neat black "clamshell" box, and despite its accolades (and one would imagine, its sales), it's surprisingly hard to find nowadays. Expect to pay around £8.

Dave E

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