Well, at long last, it looks as if the software houses have decided to pull their collective socks up and offer us a game as exciting as it is original. Deep Core offers us an electrically emetic eclectic mix of plot, atmosphere, gameplay, power-ups and prodigious weapons. Not only that, we are presented with a well-muscled hero (Captain Dawnrazor) from the He-Man, no-job's-big-hard-or-challenging-enough-unless-you're-saving-the-Earth-from-imminent-threat-of-poor-plot-cliches Academy. Sound good so far? Yeah, thought so.
So just what is it that earns it the elusive praise 'excitingly original'? Well, for a start, it bears absolutely no resemblance to Gods. No siree Bob. Although there were rumours, allegedly, that the original game title was to be Deep Core And The Unfeasibly Large Central Protagonist Who Doesn't Bear Any Resemblance Whatsoever To Gods' Unfeasibly Large Central Protagonist. Apparently, that title fell through at the last moment. Someone else had copyrighted it in America.
The game! What's this telling us about the game? Okay, it's telling us nothing. It's a stalling trick. A trick that doesn't quite work on the printed page. When something is really good, it's quite a useful device to make people wai.t Build them up to a crescendo of frustrated expectation. Put them on hold while you check the word count on your Mac to see if you're near the amount of words required for a single-page review. They know that you're going to let them know what you know about what they don't know. What they don't know is just exactly when you're going to let them know about what they don't know.
So while I pick up my P45 up from the inter-office ballistic postal infrastructure, I'll let you know what you don't know.
Yes, Deep Core uses a cunningly imaginative system of rostrums which you can negotiate and traverse by jumping up and down. You can use these podiums [Ah, I get it. You mean 'platforms', don't you? Fiendish - Ed] to reach specific locations crucial to the completion of the game. Lifts and teleports take you to other sections of an incredibly large level. In fact, as I played this benchmark game against which nothing will be compared, it struck me how incredibly large it all is. In fact, it's larger than a large thing which translated into video-game-speak means that there are three sections of the game, each divided into nine levels with small sub-levels branching out from some of these.
Not content with this milestone in game design, there are also arbitrary mechanical denizens who try to do your unfeasibly large character fatal harm. Miraculously, the innovation doesn't end here. Your hero is armed with a large gun which, stupendously, can be upgraded by jumping or travelling through small icons. Apparently these fabulous little devices act as 'power-ups' to your gun. They can be particularly effective by making it easier to kill the abundant aliens.
There's more. Loads more. The scrolling from side to side and up and down is incredibly smooth. There are even little puzzles to be worked out, such as collectable letter icons which let you gain access through certain doors. It's just awesomely gobsmacking how programmers could have thought this up. Where did their inspiration come from?
Who knows then, eh? But let me tell you this. A multi-level platform game. It's just what the games market needs to kick some life into it.
Uppers: The platforms go up, as do the lifts and the flying aliens. Sometimes the teleports end up teleporting you to an upper position.
Downers: How could there be downers? But maybe the cliched plot, the tedium, the mind-numbing sameyness about the whole game could be considered a downer. But these are only little things. Don't worry about them.
A novel concept in a market absolutely saturated with platform games: produce another platform game with no distinguishing differences from any of the other platform games whatsoever. Brilliant.