Recently, Hewson have been assaulting the Amiga market with some great releases such as Zynaps and Cybernoid. This trend now continues with the release of Nebulus.
When I first saw Nebulus it was on the Spectrum, and at the time I didn't think too much of it. But now, after playing the C64 and Amiga versions, I can safely say I've been hooked on one of the most addictive games of all time.
The basic idea is simply to try and make it to the top of each tower; but it's the route you take that's the problem. Firstly, there is only one real path, and from here on in that strategy is like a heavy snort of chess, but far more devious. To progress up the tower you need to use platforms, lifts and doorways. The problem with doorways is that unless you're an experienced player, you never quite know where you're going to end up: in a better position or in the drink. Lifts are straightforward green man-carriers, although they can also lead to some rather nasty knocks on the head. The platforms also contain pitfalls such as the annoying habit of vaporising under your feet or being greased just as you bypass a particularly nasty alien, forcing you back into it.
Each tower scrolls rotationally as well as vertically and mastering the mild concept of this idea is half the key to being successful in your approach. If you come across a lift which is blocked by a destructible platform that cannot be shot from where you stand, an alternative route is required to bring you onto the same height as the block. As long as the block is in range of your killer snowballs, you can clear the block, scurry back to your first position, and use the lift in safety.
Other problems require avoiding some really nasty meanies. I say nasty because they go one step further than actually killing you, they knock you down a level or two on the tower you're on. This may not sound much but after struggling for ages on a particularly difficult bit with precious time slipping away, this can be agonisingly painful.
Between each tower is a bonus level where you, in the guise of your little puggy man, happily blast away at marine life, encasing fish in bubbles and collecting them for a time bonus on the next tower.
The addictive qualities of this game are literally phenomenal; all you need are a few quick goes and you're hooked - like the majority of the CU team seem to be at the moment.
In a game with as limited a field of play as Nebulus the graphics have been produced extremely well. When you start, the base of the tower and the nasties are realistically reflected in the water below, and the sky is beautifully graded using around 60 colours on-screen. Clever stuff, eh?
Sampled sound effects are abundant, though not exactly the most amazing I've ever heard. Still, the sound is suitable when set against the cute, pug-nosed main sprite and those annoying aliens, one of which enters with a dry, wheezing cough!
Nebulus is going to be one hell of a game to complete, but then it's going to be one hell of a game to put down again - probably one of the most addictive games ever yo be released anywhere (honestly). In fact, it should carry a health warning: the amount of times people have nearly thumped the Amiga (Jarratt) or a wall for that matter has to get a mention. Ultimately, it's a mentally stimulating, reflex testing, light hearted game that must rank as one of the best ever releases.