Amstrad Action1st November 1990
Published in Amstrad Action #62
It's not very pleasant when your entire family is brutally murdered by an evil druid. You'd no doubt be a bit miffed. Apart from the upset and annoyance, there's also the inconvenience of having no-one to bring you up properly.
That's exactly what happened to Ulopa Cariken. His family happened to posses a magical amulet, which naturally made all the evil beings in the neighbourhood extremely jealous. Malder was the evilest, nastiest, wickedest wizard in both whole wide worlds. So one day he broke his way into the Cariken household and mas-sacred the lot of them. All, that was, except a two-year-old Ulopa. He was rescued by a faithful servant and taken away to somewhere safe.
Malder, of course, made off with the sacred amulet, to use it for his own evil ends. However, his wrongdoings managed to break the artifact into lots of pieces - an explosion scattered the bits across the entire land. (These things happen when you mess around with magic!)
Anyway, Ulopa grew up an orphan, raised by his Dad's ex-servant Thorax. When the boy turned sixteen, Thorax told him the story of how his relatives were killed, and how Maldur subsequently became ruler of the kingdom, and now Ulopa better jolly well do something about it.
So off sets our young hero. He needs to collect the 23 pieces of the amulet, for only then can he destroy Malder for good and banish the darkness that has spread across the land.
The thing is, it's not simply a case of wandering around, picking up the pieces and sticking them together with superglue.
For a start, the landscape itself is pretty perilous. It's littered with swamps and high ledges and other rough territory. On top of that, hordes of evil creatures under the command of Maldur are out for your blood. The biggest complication of all, though, is that there are two 'worlds'. One is above ground, the other is subterranean. They can be stepped between when the appropriate portals present themselves. Both need to be explored if the quest is to be completed successfully.
Our hero is not completely defenceless, though. He can blow bubbles. Now that may sound like a pretty feeble method of monster-bashing, but it's not. These bubbles can be flung around with some degree of accuracy, and any creature that gets in the way will know about it. They come in three flavours. Strong, super-strong, and double-super-strong.
Control of Ulopa is easily mastered. The little chappie is fairly agile. He can leap around athletically and crouch down low. Both actions are good for avoiding the enemy. When stood directly in front of a portal, a quick downwards tap allows him to flip to the twin world. Repeating the action else-where makes him stamp on the floor - which comes in useful later on. Firing the bubbles is straightforward enough. Actually hitting anything is another matter - they seem to go everywhere - everywhere, that is, apart from where you originally intended.
Most of the early beasties that you'll encounter are easily dismissed. It's just a case of standing a safe distance away and discharging a couple of your potent bubbles at them. When they die they leave behind a little present, usually worth extra points, but sometimes rather more valuable...
There are a large variety of these monsters. Flying beasts rarely bother you unless you're unfortunate enough to jump directly into them. Then there's this creature which simply walks around. It has a preset pattern, walking first one way, turning on the spot and walking back again.
As long as you stay out of its patrol, you can easily avoid it and shoot it down without putting yourself in mortal danger.
As you get deeper into the game, though, the creatures get more and more dangerous. Some shoot back. And as if that wasn't enough, there are dragons with detachable heads that chase you, and there are pit monsters that live underground, waiting for the unwary to walk near enough to make a quick meal out of them.
Blowing all these bubbles is thirsty work. Fortunately, there are plenty of refreshing potions around that can be picked up and drunk. Heaven knows what these elixirs contain to have such an effect! (Probably washing up liquid.)
Once destroyed, a creature leaves behind a gift. Pick it up quickly, as it disappears in a couple of seconds. And if you manage to find a magic flute, you can call up a shopkeeper. Now you can buy various items to further your quest in destroying evil.
A tune plays merrily away on the title screen. In the game itself, though, you're limited to rudimentary spot effects. A few chirps and bleeps inform you that you've picked something up, fired a bubble, or killed something.
The background scrolls along smoothly as your character makes progress. It's quite a large playing area, taking up perhaps two-thirds of the screen, so the flicker-free scrolling is quite an achievement.
The playing area is drawn completely in the Amstrad's four-colour mode. The initial levels are drawn in black, green and brown - colours that look atmospheric enough, with lots of mud and grass. It can make things a bit hard to spot, though, and you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for the tiniest change in graphics.
Everything is well drawn - Ulopa looks particularly cute. But don't be fooled - his Rambo-style headband shows that he means business.
Twin World is one of those games that'll keep you coming back to your keyboard again and again until you finally complete it.
The difficulty level is pitched just right so that you don't progress mega-quickly, but it's not so hard that you become disheartened and pack it in.
You simply won't rest until the evil Maldur has been destroyed for ever and ever!
Cute and playable, certainly, but with only four colours on-screen, those hazards are just that bit too tricky to spot for my liking. Otherwise, a pretty good outing in one of the better games.
First Day Target Score
Complete the first four levels.
P. Cute, atmospheric graphics.
N. A bit hard to make out sometimes.
P. Brilliant title tune.
N. Limited FX.
Grab Factor 80%
P. Easy-to-control character.
N. It takes a while to figure things out.
Staying Power 86%
P. Loads and loads to explore!
N. Linear games all get finished eventually.
P. Cute game that you'll keep playing until you solve it.
Need some help to get you started? Then learn from our mistakes! Here's the AA guide to a long and healthy life in Twin World.
- Look before you leap. It's all top easy to misjudge where the ground finishes and the water begins.
- Kill everything! Most of the baddies you shoot will just gain you extra points, but some reveal vital extras. More time, lives and other goodies are there for the taking.
- Explore unlocked doors and tunnels first. You'll find that many of the locked portals are unecessary to go through. They're just a waste of a valuable key.
- Mapping the layout is immensely helpful. The same baddies always give up the same item - so mark down what you can expect to find and where. And of course, when you finally complete the game, AA will be only to please to publish the best one!
- One of the flutes is to the right of the third level. Kill one of the bird-like creatures that hovers over a chasm, then quickly jump for the flute before it drops out of sight forever!
- When you approach a powerful creature, such as the dragon, change to the most powerful shots. Then let him have it! The lower grade bubbles are fine for the weedier creatures.
- Don't be afraid to let rip with your bubbles. There are plenty of potions to top up your supply