Thursday, 22 December 2016

Elevation II (Amiga)

I've given up, at least temporarily, on finding anything interesting in the Assassins PD compilation disks, as after looking at a few, it seems they were almost exclusively interested in making compilations of uninteresting clones of old arcade games. So instead, here's a solitary PD Amiga game that, rather than copying verbatim an old arcade game, offers up an original game that wouldn't have looked out of place in arcades a decade before its actual release.

So, you're a little man, and you have to run across the floors of a building until you reach your lady love at the top. Obstructing you are elevators, with various levels of speed and erraticnes. It's incredibly simple: the only controls are left and right, and touching an elevator results in a lost life. There's also various kinds of items that fall from above at random intervals, including extra lives, invincibility, points bonuses and items that instantly move you up or down a floor.

Scoring is pretty simple, too: other than the 1000 points item that might fall down, at the end of each stage, you get a bonus based on how quick you were, as well as fifty points for each stage you've cleared and a hundred for each remaining life you have. Obviously, the items appearing at random can mean that your score isn't totally a reflection of your skill, and there's always something of a luck element. Unlike in other games where I've slated such an aproach, though, I think Elevation II is just about simple enough to get away with it.

It would be remiss to let this review end without mention of the game's presentation. Since the game is a one-man job from 1993, it's obviously very simple, but at the same time, there's a lot of nostalgic charm to it. I'd describe it as a kind of mix of the black backgrounds and simple sprites of classic arcade games and the cheap and cheerful brightly-colored working class charm of 1980s ITV Saturday night light entertainment.

Elevation II is an incredibly simple game, and even at the time of its release, it couldn't possibly have been considered meaty enough to be a commercial release on either home systems or in arcades, but it remains one of my favourite Amiga games. It just has a timeless quality, it's a ton of fun to play, and surprisingly addictive.

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