Tir Na Nog (Gargoyle) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing

Zzap


Tir Na Nog
By Gargoyle Games
Commodore 64

 
Published in Zzap #1

Stunningly animated arcade adventure

Tir Na Nog

Back to pre-history you go with this very good real-time arcade adventure. You control a superbly animated Celtic warrior, Cuchulainn, on his quest to locate and re-unite (and then activate) the fragments of the Seal of Calum.

The first thing that strikes you about this game is the size and superb characterisation of Cuchulainn. Twice as large as most computer heroes, he strolls into his quest with long, flowing strides, his hair flapping in the wind.

The landscape is varied, with distinctive landmarks to help you work out your position. Sometimes you might see a castle with ravens flying around its grim battlements, at other times mountain ranges with low clouds scudding over them. Along the paths you will pass cairns and standing stones. There are also doors leading underground, some of which are unlocked and others whose key has to be found.

When on your travels, you will meet horrible creatures - these too are excellently animated. They walk along the paths and career into you; unless you have some sort of weapon to fight them with, they will kill you and you'll have to start all over again! This, by the way, is terribly frustrating.

Some of these creatures can be persuaded to help you, but on most occasions a weapon will be the only way to avoid restarting. There is a mention of combat rules in the comprehensive instructions - objects and the weapon selected for the fight will be taken into account during the battle and will determine your effectiveness in this area. All this is deliberately ambiguous and will require a lot of attempts before the right offensive can be selected for the right creature.

Some of the creatures will have parts of the Seal and you will have to fight for them. Some of the parts of the Seal may be located off the beaten track, so a secondary quest might have to be undertaken to obtain these.

Weapons and other objects are located along the paths and can be picked up for use. Some of them seem worthless but all have some use within your quest. All of them can be used to attack a creature, but some are definitely more effective than others!

This adventure will keep even an experienced arcade adventurer tantalized for many hours. Even when solved it should offer more because it can be completed in many ways.

GP

Never mind Valhalla, this is a true computer movie. Just watch Cuchulainn walk past the detailed and imaginative background scenery - the animation is superb. The area of play is massive, and takes some time to explore fully. Keys are well-arranged and comfortable to use. Locating the fragments of the seal is difficult enough, never mind re-uniting and activating them. This means there's plenty to keep you going for months on end.

JR

This is what I call a *real* arcade adventure. The graphics are stunning and the scenery is excellent. Plenty of challenge involved in this one: it takes days to sort out which weapon is most useful to deal with which creature alone. With the multiple ways to

solve the adventure, this will keep you occupied long after you have actually solved it, trying different ways of completing your tasks.

Viewing The Adventure World

On screen Cuchulainn can only move left or right - to move in and out of the screen, you must first change the viewing angle. Four views are optional from any standing point, so its possible to see Cuchulainn from behind, front, and facing left or right, without actually moving.

Moving him 'into' the screen is done by selecting the view so that the path which was leading into the screen, if there was one, is seen horizontally across the screen. Although this is confusing at first, only two keys are used to change the viewing angle. With practice, it is easy to slip down a side path to avoid a Sidhe.

However, the amount of paths and viewing options make it very easy to lose yourself in the maze of roads, and careful mapping is almost a necessity. If you want to get anywhere, you'd better get out the paper and felt tips once again.

This is a delightful delve into mythology and provides plenty of possibilities for hours of adventuring and mapping. The animation of Cuchulainn is of course the most immediately noticeable feature, but the rest of the game is equally impressive. With so many objects and places to explore discovering everything will take long enough, but then when you have to figure out what to do with them as well, things really get tough.

Verdict

Presentation 83%
Great instruction booklet, complete with story. No joystick option.

Originality 87%
A new concept in arcade adventuring.

Graphics 88%
New standards set in character animation.

Hookability 79%
It takes a few games before full addiction sets in.

Sound 6%
Non-existent apart from a few bleeps.

Lastability 91%
Large playing area and plenty of ways of solving the game give this one plenty.

Value For Money 87%
One of the great arcade adventures.

JR

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