Amstrad Action1st November 1986
Published in Amstrad Action #14
Design Design is usually renowned for its wacky and original games, but I suspect many fans will be disappointed by this one. Nexor is an isometric 3D game, not a crime in itself, but one that borrows most of its features from Batman and doesn't provide as interesting a game.
The game is set in a military complex which has been overrun by alien robots. You have to escape with a top-secret master weapon and its blueprints. The weapon is split into five pieces and there are two of each piece. You have to get together at least one complete device and try to stop the aliens getting the pieces of the other one. To escape the complex, which has been set to self-destruct, you also need a control panel for the matter-transfer beam and the blueprints of the weapon.
The rooms in the complex are connected by doorways, vertical shafts and lifts. Some open out so that you need to try walking off the front edges of them to see if there's a connecting room. They're not as well drawn or as colourful as Batman; the colour scheme is the same sort as 2112 AD. Although many of the objects at first look unfamiliar, their uses and effect are quickly recognisable.
You can walk, jump and fall (miles at time) around the complex, but your jumping action is slow and doesn't get you very far. You can pick up objects while standing on them and use them to get through doorways, to reach other inaccessible points or to avoid robots. As in Batman you can't take these objects out of a room. Collecting the pieces of the weapon is just like getting the bits of the Batmobile: they even come together on a separate screen in the same way.
The robot guardians appear in most rooms but this seems to depend on a time factor or your having visited certain locations. Some follow strict movement patterns, while others are more random. There are also static hazards, but all are deadly to the touch. Nothing is new to what's gone before in Batman and the Ultimate games. Some of the hazards are well drawn including moving-head busts of Maggie '3 million' Thatcher, nasty spikes, bombs and a little fellow on a unicycle.
You'd think you couldn't go wrong by producing a game similar to Batman, but the bits that have been left out are what gave the original its greatness. There aren't enough complicated puzzles, you can't float or collect skills, and the graphics aren't nearly as detailed or colourful. It's not a bad arcade adventure with quite a lot to explore and find and many obstacles to overcome, but it does suffer from lack of originality by arriving in Batman's wake.
If you're going to rip off features of a game then you might at least choose the best ones. Where are all the devious puzzles, the strange powers and the floating in the air? The Batman theme definitely bears repeating - but you need more variety than this. It's basically just a matter of wandering around mapping.
First Day Target Score
Three pieces of weapon
Green Screen View
The colour scheme works well in green. Only the odd object or robot is hard to see.
P. Plenty of rooms to explore.
P. Gradual appearance of robots is good.
P. A tough task with many obstacles.
P. Some good screens requiring object manipulation.
N. Ripped off many ideas from Batman.
N. Not enough puzzles or features to keep you busy thinking.