Commodore User

Purple Saturn Day
By Exxos
Amiga 500

Published in Commodore User #65

Purple Saturn Day

One day every year, when the skies around Saturn turn purple. The inhabitants of the neighbouring planets come together for four challenging events in a galactic Olympiad.

Are you sure about this? Fortunately the games in this excuse for an intergalactic sports sim aren't quite as obscure as their blurb. You start off in a slalom race around one of Saturn's rings. Go right of the red satellites and left of the yellow ones, but only if you're in the lead. Colliding with an asteroid results in a grating thud and there's a metallic dong if you bounce off one of the satellites. As there's no time limit, the race alternates between weave and dash, you have to balance keeping in front with not missing out the markers.

'Ring-Pursuit' is as well presented a pursuit race as you could wish. Marvel as you thump into a lump of rock for the umpteenth time. Rage as your opponent kicks space dust in your face. Snooze as nothing else in particular happens.

Purple Saturn Day

The next game, 'Tronic Slider' is a fairly straightforward combination of a dodgem rink and hoovering. When you shoot up a glowing energy ball, it breaks into pieces which you have to collect before the other bloke. Try and avoid bumping into the walls around the flat playing area and the 'shimmering monoliths' (translation; posts) and you're away. Entertaining, but hardly original.

'Brain Bowler' is a bit more out of the ordinary. You have to reactivate one half of an 'exploded' brain through the electronic circuit board of 'intricate cerebral working'. It looks more like the insides of a transistor radio to me. You do all this by bouncing a ball against the bits and pieces, re-routing charges to the brain centre. Your schizophrenic opponent on the other half will try to interfere as much as possible and the result is a very good game indeed. The gameplay allowing a variety of different tactics to be adopted.

I can't see 'Brain Bowler' becoming a national sport just yet. Where would you get a decent supply of exploded brains full of bits of cheap electronics? Then again, there's always Highbury.

The last game, 'Time Jump' is a little bit fatuous. Shoot up a few energy sprites and then pull back on a piece of cosmic elastic and boing! You'll be transported into another dimension. You're then treated to some pleasant, pointillistic graphics to remind you that this is a parallel universe. Fortunately, there's no problem getting back to reality in time for tea and you can then choose a variety of different aliens to compete against - each of whom has different characteristics which make him/her/it better at some events than others.

The graphics are excellent throughout: sharp, well-defined and with a singularly deranged Gallic flavour all of their own. The sound effects are firm and complement the graphics well, but the only real drawback is the relative unoriginality of the gameplay. Hold the 'shimmering monoliths'. A sports sim, is a sports sim, is a sports sim.

Mark Heley

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