Thursday, 18 August 2016

New Sinbad 7 (Arcade)

I like to think that I'm too intelligent to be taken in by advertising, but in the case of New Sinbad 7, it was not just the game's promotional flyer, with its striking sci-fi/fantasy hybrid art, but also the bizarre slogan on that flyer, loudly proclaiming "SEVEN TIMES SEVEN SORCERERS OF OLD SOUGHT SINBAD 7", that totally caught my imagination and led me to playing the game. It's a great little turn of phrase though, isn't it? It's so mythic and dramatic.

The game itself is a little less so, however. It's a maze game, that's pretty primitive-looking, even compared to other games from 1983, and you play as sinbad, represented by what appears to be some kind of tiny green bird, who flies around mazes shooting butterflies. In the centre of each maze, there's a temple with a treasure or a key in the middle of it, and for each monster you kill, a small block of the temple disappears, until a path has been cleared to the bounty within. If there's a treasure there, you collect it and simply go on to the next stage. On collection of a key, a door will open somewhere on the stage, which leads to another screen, on which there's a formation of blocks for you to shoot, and while you're doing that, some of the blocks will occasionally break off and start haphazardly flying around the screen. Shoot all the blocks, animate or otherwise, and you go on to the next screen.

It's a very simple game, and I do like the path-clearing mechanic, and the fact that you can shoot the enemies' shots. In conjunction with the fact that you're limited to two shots at a time means that realistically, you'll win a gunfight with one enemy in a couple of seconds, but with two or more enemies coming at you from the same direction, you'll quickly end up dead. I like that small-scale bit of mechanical certainty: you know exactly what you can do, and so you can instantly assess which situations can be worked to your benefit. Unfortunately, the "block" stages don't really allow for any of that kind of strategising, with your enemies randomly bouncing around the screen faster than both your movement and your bullets, making clearing them mainly down to luck.

I can see that they wanted to break up the main stages in fears of the game becoming repetitive, but those block stages are boring, unfair and generally terrible. New Sinbad 7 wouldn't have been some great classic without them, but they definitely make it a worse game than it would otherwise have been. I don't recommend playing this game, but I do really recommend you go and look up its flyer.

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