Obsidian (Amsoft) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action


Obsidian
By Artic Computing
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #4

Obsidian

For those of you who don't know what obsidian is (like me until I reached for a dictionary), it's a volcanic rock that looks like bottle-glass. This may well prove a clue within the game which is set inside an asteroid and, like Strangeloop, combines arcade skills, exploration and some tricky puzzles.

The story is a familiar one in that your task is to explore the ship, carved out of the asteroid, avoiding the robot guards and activating the power engines before making your escape. The scenario may not win prizes but the tough task and graphics will. There are five engines which have to be activated and each one will be triggered by a particular object.

These are found in many of the picturesque locations made up of man-made materials and the asteroid rock. The screens vary greatly in colour and design, but many hold traps for the unwary. Objects that you need appear in gravity boxes in ceilings from where they can be collected and carried one at a time. They can be used to activate or deactivate doors, barriers and other features ether by touch or by using the fire button.

The fellow who does all this for you have two main ways of getting around the ship, either by walking or flying around with his jet pack. The latter is a faster way of whizzing about, but unfortunately it consumes fuel or 'nitro'. If this runs out it's bye-bye to one of the five lives. There are various points where nitro can be replenished but watch out for the ones that sap it.

A more immediate death will occur if one of the robot security devices is encountered in the form of a device moving in a set movement pattern or a laser barrier blocking the way or beamed across the floor. Since things happen very fast you have to keep an eye out for these and be very careful when trying to get past them. Some are really sneaky and shoot separate missiles that catch you unawares but also follow a movement pattern.

In the early stages of the game there isn't much choice of objects or locations so that most of your actions are straightforward and obvious. However, as the playing area opens up, it soon becomes clear that many objects will be required to complete the game and that some hard thinking as well as trial and error will be needed. Early uses for an energy key, lazer pass and lock decoder are fairly clear as some objects and locations are marked but when you start encountering blue glass, suicide bombs and ice crystals, things start to get more complicated.

The graphics are well drawn and the animation of the main character is good for both walking and flying. I found the flying controls too responsive at first but they can be mastered with some practice. The puzzle element is once again vital to the game's success and you get a kick out of every new area of the game you open up. There aren't too many unexpected touches within the game but some imaginative thought will be required with some problems to conquer them. The only drawback is that getting past some of the robot guards can be frustratingly difficult and lose precious lives while in the midst of thinking about a knotty problem.

Good News

P. Lots of attractive, well designed screens. P. Plenty of puzzles to solve. P. A wide variety of objects and uses. P. Good mix of arcade and adventure skills.

Bad News

N. Robot guards can prove annoying as you flick between screens. N. Jet pack is too responsive for some situations.

Second Opinion

The first thing that struck me about this game was the graphics - bright, clear and featuring some unusual colours. The game itself is not very original, but it's so well-executed that it deserves the praise it's getting here.

Controlling your man is tricky when he's airborne, and I missed the opportunity to shoot aliens. But you can't have everything.

Bob Wade