ST Format


The Greatest
By Beau Jolly
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #46

Can The Greatest really live up to its name? Paula Richards approaches this compilation with trepidation...

The Greatest

Compilations have often been things to be suspicious of - they almost always promise much but can very rarely deliver. This is one exception.

Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker

The differences between real snooker and Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker are quite noticeable. The real thing usually involves getting into awkward positions then hitting balls into pockets with a stick in draughty damp halls.

Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker, on the other hand, involves getting into virtually any position you fancy relative to the snooker table, then using precise and measured movements hit the ball with the chalked cue (without even getting your fingers messy) applying a back or side spin - and all without leaving the comfort of your ST. Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker gives you the chance to practise your technique and even play competitive games against the professionals at whatever difficulty level you choose - although at even the easiest level you're likely to get thoroughly slaughtered.

This is an excellent game, which you can play with two people, that you're bound to enjoy even if you don't like snooker; the graphics are bright and clear, the sound effects of the audience clapping and the balls plopping into the pockets add to the atmosphere. There are plenty of features so you can finely tune your skills - and should you get bored with that, just sit back and watch. Your ST comes to life - flies start flying around the table and the balls begin to pull faces or wave flags at you. Never a dull moment.

Lure Of The Temptress

Unfortunately, you are Diermot. You are stuck in a cell with only a pile of straw and a rat for company. You're chuffed to be alive but you'd still like to get out of this smelly cell so you can overthrow the Skorl's leader Selena, then restore the country to harmony.

Once you've got out of your cell you can start your quest with the help of the ever-obedient Ratpouch. The adventure is huge with plenty of gently humorous turns, interesting things to do and people to talk to.

Lure Of The Temptress is a huge RPG involving Virtual Theatre, so the characters have their own lives to live - they're more independent and carry on doing things even when you're not with them. You especially appreciate this when you get to look through windows or cracks and find other scenarios being played out. All the effects are excellent - the graphics are detailed and involving from the clothes the characters wear to the green leaves of the ivy; they are all carefully animated - as are the creatures and the natural effects like fires and waterfalls. Sound too is superb with incredibly evocative samples - it really makes you feel part of the game. This has to be one of the best adventures ever to come out for your ST - its combination of playability, humour and sensory appeal make it an old friend you're going to want to come back to time and again.

Shuttle

With two excellent games together in one box, there had to be some sort of catch. Shuttle is it. Although this is a fine piece of incredibly well-researched programming, it's very hard to get into, being more of a tutor in how to fly a space shuttle rather than a relaxing and entertaining game.

Althought here's a quick start guide provided with the (very) comprehensive manual, it doesn't give you any indication of where you're supposed to start playing with the hundreds of daunting controls even for a mission that might sound relatively simple - launching from the back of a 747 transport plane near the glideslope for an unpowered landing.

You actually have to read the full instructions to get any sort of a clue about where on earth you should begin. If you have the patience, and the desire to fly a space shuttle - and don't mind taking several months over it - this is for you. Just don't expect to master it the first time your approach it.

Verdict

If you don't have any of these, you'd do well to get this - two stormin' games and, er, a technical project with which you can while away a few months. The whole lot should keep you satisfied for quite some time to come.

Highs

Three varied and absorbing games makes this excellent value for money.

Lows

Shuttle's only going to appeal to you if you have true dedication to the idea of learning to fly one of the things.

Paula Richards

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