Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Mean Arenas (Amiga)

This is a maze game for the Amiga, presented like one of those deadly future gameshows thatr seemed to be so popular on that computer (there was this, the killing game show... I'm sure there were others too...)
The most obvious thing to talk about with this game is the presentation, which is quite nice, despite the game having an obviously very small budget and probably being made by only a couple of people. There's lots of voice samples, all the time while you're playing, such as your character going "ooh!" when taking damage, the crown cheering when you kill enemies, and the presenters commenting when you collect power-ups or die. I had this game as a kid, and the main thing I remembered about it before playing it again in recent times was the "Studio" bits before each stage, where the two presenters of the show would tell you the theme of the next stage (dungeon or spaceship or whatever), and something would happen like one of them farts, or a microphone breaks. Those bits were hilarious when my age was only a single digit, but now they just seem a bit weak and embarassing. But the game was probably made by a couple of fourteen year olds, so it's unfair to be too harsh on the rubbish humour. The best part of all the voices (and possibly the whole game) is the sample that plays when you finish a stage, that says "MARRRRRVELLOUS" in an amusing upper class cad sort of manner.
The game itself is pretty average. You go around the mazes, which are all quite a bit bigger than the stages in most games of this type, the smallest being a few screens high, and later one the stage start to have multiple floors and the like, too.
There are more differences between Mean Arenas and most other maze collecting games, too. The pace is a lot slower than say, Raimais or Pacar. As well as collecting a power up that lets you kill enemies by walking into them for a short time, as is common with these games, you can also collect fireballs that you can store to shoot at anytime, too. There are lots of keys to open doors, switches to change the stage's layout and other gimmicks and traps in each stage too, a change from the typical maze game which has the enemies posing the only threat.
Overall, the game is pretty good, though the slow pace and huge stages, while different, do make the game seem a bit of a boring slog at times. It's entertaining enough for a couple of games, though.