Commodore User


Author: Tony Dillon
Publisher: Firebird
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #56


No, I refuse to keep on playing it. I don't want to be subjected to a game that kills you as soon as you move. It's not that the nasties come at you in great hordes, or that the laser fire is well nigh impossible to avoid. Oh no, I mean that you die as soon as you push the joystick.

Pandora is the thing responsible for killing you. It's a seventh generation computer which runs the generation ship, aptly named Pandora. After roaming in space for two centuries, Pandora is returning home. No-one knows why she is returning, and no-one wants to find out. I can understand that. One look at the game, and I didn't want to.

You have been sent up to the ship to investigate Pandora and report if anything 'odd' has happened. The first thing you find when you start the game is that, if you try to move and you are not carrying an ID pass, a roof laser burns you to a crisp! A quick search of your pockets shows that you don't have an ID pass, so what are you supposed to do? Simple. Wait for a person to come up to you, say "Here's my pass, you are the only one who can defeat Pan..." and die before your very eyes. Check your pockets now, and you see that a very nice pass has appeared. You are now free to move - what a way to start the game.


The ship is set over a vast multi-scrolling area, in a similar vein to the much cloned Gauntlet. Your character moves in any of the four directions, and speaking of your character, what a blocky little square it is! In fact, blockiness is the name of the game. There's not one sprite or chunk of graphic that isn't made up of large coloured blocks.

One thing this game has got going for it is a large amount of characters. In a small room just north from where you start, a priest blesses every man and his mother. Lots of dead people ine the floors, and they can be searched and things can be stolen from them. For example, higher rank ID passes, needed to access certain areas of the ship and/or disable forcefields. And then there is, dan dan dan daaa, boo, hiss, the thief. Who is the man in black? [GP? - Ed] The thief is a very fast black mess who runs at you, recites a poem and steals your ID pass. What a blower. Once he gets near you, there's nothing you can do. You can't fight him, because as soon as he touches you, away goes your pass and puff you go.

As you've probably gathered, Pandora isn't the most user-friendly game ever seen. It's all very well having loads of problems to overcome, but not when they're of the unnecessarily frustrating variety. Who needs hassle like this when you're supposed to be enjoying the game? This more adventure-orientated style of Gauntlet game has enormous potential, but sadly the programmers of Pandora have totally missed the point.

Tony Dillon

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