Vortex has an enviable reputation that spans virtually the entire history of Spectrum gaming, largely thanks to the programmer Costa Panayi (Android, Android II, TLL, Cyclone, Alien Highway and Highway Encounter) whose preoccupation with 3D representation has made each game outstanding and usually innovative. Now he's turned his talents to something completely different with Revolution.
In this 3D game you control a versatile bouncing ball and the idea is to solve various puzzles on each game level. The action takes place on huge platforms suspended above bottomless ravines. Gaps of varying distance separate each platform, some are small and easily bounced over, while others are vast and take a lot of bouncing to get over. Being a bottomless ravine, going over the edge always ends in death for your ball. You move around by either bouncing or rolling. If for any reason the ball becomes stationary then you can get it bouncing again by using extra super bounce. A red bar indicator is provided to show the height of bounce being achieved, letting you estimate the amount of strength needed to reach an objective.
But what about the puzzles? They're all identical in concept and consist of deactivating two grey boxes set a distance apart from each other. Touching a box with your ball turns it white and deactivates it for a short length of time. Next you must get your ball over to the other grey box and turn this white as well before the first block turns grey again in order to complete each puzzle. All fine and dandy. However, apart from the extremely short deactivation time limit, each puzzle contains various nasties, some animated some not. Like all nasties, they're convinced that what you're trying to do is wrong and are all out to stop you.
The animated ones scoot around just above the ground at great speed and any contact has disastrous results - your ball may be given a swift nudge, knocking it off course or even be sent over the platform edge to its doom.
Despite their savagery, the stationary perils are probably the hardest to negotiate. Arrows on the ground scoot your ball rapidly towards the direction in which they point. This either keeps you away from the block you're aiming for, or once again sends you to your death off the edge. Solid patches of grid act as super bouncing plates and might fling you off the side or sproing you in completely the wrong direction again. The furry nasties with their waving flagella-like protrusion are instantly lethal and if your ball touches any of these then a life is lost.
Each level must be completed before an automatic lift transports your sphere to a higher grade. There are nine levels in total in the game, each with progressively more and harder puzzles. The position of puzzles on a level is indicated by red circles on a map, shown on at the start of a level. During play the map screen can be accessed by pressing the M key. Your starting position (which is rarely the same) is also shown on this map by a yellow rectangle.
Five lives are provided for each game. When you lose one a new ball is shunted out of dock and automatically placed on the lift. This carries the ball up to the correct level and it's then up to you to control where it goes.
On higher levels the deactivation time limit gets shorter and there is an overall time limit to each game shown by the descending green bar at the bottom of the screen. Beside it sits the score chart showing how many puzzles have been completed. A set amount of points is scored for each puzzle depending on its difficulty.
Just because you've managed to complete the game once don't think playing it through is a doddle - each time a new game starts the puzzles and their positions are redistributed amongst the levels randomly!