Herr. Phantomasa is a creation of the Mojon Twins, who have written more Speccy, Amstrad, MSX and retro-themed PC games that I've had hot dinners. Mind you, the Mojon Twins also created the utility La Churrera - which has succeeded in allowing almost everyone to be able to create their own platform games and reduced all "new" Spectrum platformers to being much of a muchness. I've lambasted quite a few of them right here over the years (Zombie Calavera and Lala Prologue, for example) and am always a bit worried that, when a new one comes along, any review will simply be a regurgitation of the same old complaints.
However, I'm happy to report that Phantomasa 2 isn't a bad little caper at all, which may explain why it's just been given a physical release on the Silver Games Studio label (available through www.sellmyretro.com). The instructions are the usual over-complicated verbiage but the game itself is a colourful meander through fifty screens of fun, grabbing the moneybox from each one.
I don't propose to go too far into the dynamics of this game suffice it to say that there are the usual three controls - left, right and jump - and that your hero will jump further if you are able to take at least a short run-up to whatever obstacle you're trying to leap. Phantomasa has an energy level, depleted by the usual playing mistakes.
A typical room contains two floating nasties, and they are plotted in a random position when you enter and then gravitate slowly towards you. Although this works as a concept, I find this to be somewhat "lazy" design for a game. Whether or not you can grab the money and escape the room without colliding with one or other of them is pseudo-random. Unless, that is, you keep exiting and re-entering every room several times to get them in a position whereby you know (from previous plays) that they can be avoided. Blah, too much work!
The game is very responsive and, in addition to the money, objects appear (also at random) which give temporary invulnerability or top up your energy level. Alas, collecting invulnerability causes Phantomasa to flicker very quickly, making him extremely difficult to position.
There are two versions of Phantomasa 2 on the cassette, and each is different enough to qualify as a game in its own right. As there are no graphic adventure elements, all you need do is "stash the cash", meaning neither game is difficult. In learning how to complete each room, you will get a little bit further each time you play until you eventually succeed in amassing all the swag.
The 128K version of Phantomasa 2 is also included on the ZX Vega.