In most respects this is probably the most redundant review in this issue! By the time you read it, it would be surprising if you aren't already an expert at playing Sabre Wulf, the latest game from Ultimate. Due to the inevitability of the natural law which states: Ultimate will always release a new game at the last possible moment before CRASH goes to press - we have had to do this one backwards in order to get any colour pictures fitted in! So below you will find the criticisms, and on the opposite page the general bits and pieces with the pictures.
It is, perhaps, almost redundant making an Ultimate game a CRASH SMASH. From the moment the first ad for Sabre Wulf appeared, the question we have heard most is, 'Is it out yet?' Those rumours which suggested that Sabre Wulf would be like Atic Atac are, in many ways, correct. What we have here is another Ultimate mystery with a glossy, cryptic scenario, a long cast list of the horrors to be encountered, and very little else. As in Atic Atac, the player is expected to explore, discover and die endlessly until things begin to slot into place. Also as in Atic Atac, the game plays in a massive maze where at any moment you will be able to see a place you would like to reach and no obvious way of getting there.
Unlike Atic Atac there is no pickup/drop key, and consequently no info box to tell you what you are carrying or how strong you are. This deepens the mystery. How are you to know whether you are on the right track? (Forgive the maze-like pun.) The only starting point is the dire WARNING etched deep into lifeless stone and reprinted on the insert. Put together the four sundered pieces of what must be an ACG Amulet so you can pass the keeper wrought with hate and gain an entrance to the gate.
Any review of Sabre Wulf at this point could only scratch the surface of the game's complexity. But it's safe to say that, like Atic Atac, it will endure.
What we do have immediately is a glowing screen full of colour, intricately drawn graphics, constant animation and action and a desperate desire to get on with it and find out what's going on in this tangled jungle world. Ultimate are very good at designing games without explanation or hint, but at providing enough clues in the action itself for you to try out things. In this sense both Atic Atac and Sabre Wulf are really like graphic adventures. It is up to you, the player, to find solutions to the problems. The very fact that the problems exist is a guarantee that there will be a solution - if only you can discover the right combination of events.