Ultimate, £ 9.95 cass, £ 14.95 disk, jostick with keys.
|As the cassette reaches the end, and loading nears completion, you say to yourself 'I wonder if Ultimate have done
it again?'. Once the game has finally loaded and you've pressed the fire button to start, your heart sinks and
you think: 'They haven't -- it's Karnath revisited'.
But they have and it isn't. You soon find that getting out of the first location isn't quite so simple as you initially thought. When, hours later, you've fully explored and sussed the first few levels, you realise that Entombed is one of the most original and entertaining aardvarks (arcade-adventures) ever to hit the 64 (or any other machine, come to think of it).
|The game retains the character of Sir Arthur Pendragon and some of the graphics from Staff of Karnath, but any
similarities stop there. Whereas Karnath was relatively small, Entombed is large and complex -- 'the total playing
area is some 175 screens in size. Whereas 'Karnath included puzzles made difficult purely by being obscure, the
puzzles in Entombed have logical and sometimes spectacular solutions. Indeed, the kick you'll get from sussing
parts of this game is about as great as any computer game will ever give you.
The action is set in an ancient Egyptian tomb, from which Sir Arthur must escape. It has the same basic appearance as Karnath, except that everything has an Egyptian flavour. Highly detailed and authentic 3D background scenery adorns every location -- complete with some excellent hieroglyphics which lend an incredible atmosphere to the game. The sprites used, unfortunately, are of the same quality as Karnath, ie fairly large and crude, but with some great animation -- just watch Sir Arthur jump!
The tomb has several levels, each composed of a network of corridors and antechambers, the corridors having many turn- ings and dead ends. Various nasties frequent the corridors and devious puzzles lie within the chambers.
While in the corridors, Sir Arthur can breathe freely. When in one of the chambers on the other hand, there is a limited supply of air to breathe and this is indicated by a percentage displayed on screen. Should he stay in one room for too long, and the air percentage should reach zero, then one complete life will be lost (you start with five).
Contact with any form of nasty will deplete one of your lives by a certain amount. Each life starts off displayed as white and this gets gradually darker until the life is lost. Needless to say, once all five lives are lost the game is over. However every fifth crow which flies overhead carries lifegiving 'ankh', which you may be able to jump and grab.
|The 3D viewpoint is the same as that in Karnath: a sort of cut away side-on view of a location is shown. As before, when moving left or right the screen scrolls smoothly in the same direction to follow the action. It's also possible to move 'in' and 'out' of the screen as in Karnath, except this time a slightly different approach is used: When you're in a left/right corridor and you move into one of the passages visible going into or out of the screen, the viewpoint flicks round by 90 degrees. So, instead of showing a view of you walking into the screen, you are shown moving across the screen again, with the passage you just left now at right-angles to the screen.|
|This shuffling of viewpoints can prove difficult to get to grips with at first and makes mapping awkward. But needless
to say, as with most aardvarks, without a map you're liable to become hopelessly lost (which is why we're printing
Sir Arthur is controlled in the same manner as before -- with the joystick plus occasional use of the space-bar -- only this time there are no spells used to perform functions such as fighting and moving things. Instead the space-bar is used to select one of three actions: jump, use the magical whip or use the torch; Pressing the fire button will then perform the action currently dis- played, although the latter two can be used only after you've found the relevant equipment. The whip is easily found on the first level but the torch isn't quite so easy to get (sorry, no clues).
|There are a number of objects to be found within the chambers should you solve the puzzles surrounding them. All of these are useful, if only to help you obtain other, more important objects. It's a very long sequence of events before you find the object you need to escape the tomb and end the game.|
|Most of the chambers are tough to crack and so some helpful clues are provided throughout the game. These clues
come in the form of cryptic hints on scrolls and aren't given away just like that. No, they're obtained in the
same way as the objects -- with difficulty! When you actually find a scroll, the clue on it is displayed at the
top of the screen for a couple of seconds.
The sound effects are fairly good, but nothing to get excited about, although there is the occasional good and rather unusual one. The game loads in the same annoying manner as Karnath it stops half way through loading to play a reasonable piece of authentic sounding music and won't continue to load any further until you press a key.
|As is the case with all Ultimate games, the packaging is of a high standard, and the instructions atmospheric but
deliberately obscure (although I must say these were some of the more helpful Ultimate instructions I've come across).
scene is set with an intriguing explanation as to why Sir Arthur is in the predicament he's in and there's the
usual tantalising list of game features.
The only real criticism of the game, applies to all aardvarks, indeed all adventures. Getting stuck can be almost unbearably frustrating, and once solved you may not want to return it. However there is a clock which means you can always to solve it in a shorter time and in any case, you won't complete the game without first joying many, many hours of classy, demanding, atmospheric, exhilarating action.
More helpful instructions than usual but same silly loader.
Initially looks like Karnath but in fact has MUCH more.
Brilliant hieroglyphics and enemies and some marvellous rooms.
Great sound effects on whip, and some rooms, but no game music.
Solving the puzzles gives an incredible kick.
Lots of devious puzzles and levels that really take some working out.
Value for Money 93%
Even better than Staff of Karnath -- what more can you say.
|Note : This article was original on Alex's "Brigadon - Zzap!64 Online" site, which has closed down while he's gone on a world trip and eventually planning to live and work in Dublin, Ireland. According to his farewell message on his site he gives premission to grab and download any pages of use. I tried to contact him directly to request premission to actually use those pages on this site, but as I found out from a friend of his, he'd left already. At the moment I'm going by this farewell message and assuming that it's okay to use his pages on this site. His site will be offline and these articles shouldn't be lost. Should he request it or his site comes back at a later stage, I'll delete these related files.|