Borobodur - made-up name or wot?

Borobodur logo

THALAMUS * £25.99 * 1/2 meg * Joystick * Out now

Where do they get these silly names for games from? Borobodur. It kind of rolls of your tongue right onto the floor, doesn't it? Anyhow, regardless of the silly name, Borobodur is very similar to Turrican and has a certain Shadow of the Beast feel to it too.

At the start of the game you run around, big gun in hand, shooting everything that moves, but you also have little puzzle elements where you have to activate levers and other objects.

For instance, there is a wheel with a rope threaded through it that is attached to a door below. You have to activate this wheel to open the door allowing you to pass through. There are also numerous levers to pull, and you have to work out what they all do.

With the many nasties intent on smashing your face in, there are also power-up type effects to collect that restore your energy and increase your weapon power.

The objective is to solve the level whereby you get the message "The exit is open" or something along those lines. You must then make your way to this exit which takes you on to the next level.

Level two is, to all intents and purposes, a driving game. It has all the feel of games like Lotus Turbo, with undulating tracks and twisting corners. The graphics in this part of the game are quite fast and smooth, and you can even blast opponents with your cannon should they get in your way.

You are apparently not in a car, but on what looks like a floating chair which hovers above the tracks. You must collect fuel and other objects dotted along the track as you drive along, to aid you later on. There is also a boost function available which, on pressing the spacebar, sends you hurtling around the track at breakneck speed.

Later levels take place in some kind of underground area where you must solve puzzles to progress further. There is an obscure piece of rock that you can move, but I couldn't figure out what to do with at all. Maybe that's because I'm crap at this sort of game.

The sound is quite good with a constant background theme tune playing as you kick butt. The theme music changes in mood as you go from level to level which adds a certain amount of atmosphere.

The graphics are nothing to write home about, but they are OK and the animation and scrolling are quite smooth too. The game comes on three disks and there's an optional intro. There is also a rather cool Terminator-type opening sequence, with the letters of the title scrolling across the screen to a snazzy tune.

I quite enjoyed playing Borobodur, even though it's nothing new or innovative, so I think those of you who like Turrican should take a look at it.

Borobodur logo

Thalamus * £25.99

When Thalamus first arrived on the scene, producing games for the C74, they stretched the capabilities of the machine further than most had done before. But this is not a good example to their attention to detail. Its playability lacks the smoothness that made platform games such as Turrican so successful.

The main sprite has the appearance of an ostrich when he runs, and the huge gun is very unresponsive to presses from the fire-button and couldn't defend your character from a rabbit, let alone the hordes of carnivores that he is frequently pitted against.

The levels progress from lifeless areas of terrain to seething masses of creatures that not only slow down the already questionable update speed, but also rip your character to pieces and take you right back to the beginning of the level: (AAAAARGH!).

All this occurs while a terrible piece of music plays in the background to either keep you awake or provoke you into kicking in your TV.

Knapp vorbei ist auch daneben?

Borobodur logo

Boah ey, ein Actiongame auf drei Disketten - das muß ja gewaltig sein! Oder gehen hier vielleicht schon zweieinhalb Scheiben für ein imposantes Intro drauf?!?

Na, und von imposant kann bei den überwiegend aus ellenlangen Text bestehenden Vorspann auch keine Rede sein. Immerhin erfährt man daraus daß der hochgefährliche Dr Ragnowa gerade den Planeten Borobodur heimsucht. Für Recht und Ordnung in dieser Ecke des Alls ist Special Agent Johnson zuständig, der seinen Raumjäger umgehend zum Ort des Geschehen lenkt.

Empfangen wird er von sehr schön gezeichneten Hintergründen, dazu gibt es bombastische Musik und Soundeffekte, daß ihm die Ohren in Stereo wackeln.Bei butterweichem Parallax Scrolling hüpft er nun über Plattformen, klettert Lianen empor und ballert mit seiner Lasergun auf mutierte Schnecken und ähnliches Getier.

Zur besseren Verteidigung seiner vier Bildschirmleben darf er Bonuskapseln aufsammeln die zusätzliche Energie/Munition liefern oder seine Waffe in puncto Reichweite, Schußfrequenz und Feuerkraft verbessern.

Für Abwechslung sorgen neben unterschiedlichen Hintergründen (Wildnis, Hightech Stadt etc.) auch einige völlig anders geartete Spielabschnitte. In kleinen 3D Sequenzen fliegt man mit dem Raumschiff "in den Screen hinein", bei Gelegenheit muß sogar mal ein Bild wieder richtig zusammengesetzt werden, das der Rechner durcheinander gewechselt hat.

So schön das alles klingt und bis auf die etwas ruckelige Animation des Helden auch aussieht - die einen Tick zu trage und nicht hundertprozentig exakt reagierende Joysticksteuerung verpaßt dem Spielspaß ein gehörigen Dampfer.

Schade, denn mit etwas besseren Feinabstimmung wäre Borobodur wirklich eine Reise wert gewesen! (C. Borgmeier)

When it comes to game names, there's none wors than...

Borobodur logo

What a crap name. Borobodur. It just screams 'Nothing!' at you from the off, doesn't it? You try to imagine a game at the top of the charts being called Borobodur, but however hard you concentrate, you simply can't do it.

It makes you wonder if Thalamus actually employ any market research people - 'Yeah, we're going to call this one Borobodur. Extensive tests have shown that anything up to two people out of every 100 can remember the name and spell it correctly, sometimes even two or three minutes after hearing it'. If you call a game Borobodur, you might as well run it with the slogan 'So anonymous even we've forgotten it already'.

But anyway, there are probably four or five of you out there who haven't been completely put off by the pathetic excuse for a tile and want to know about the game, so here goes. Borobodur (I have to look at the disks every time I go to type the name, y'know) is a straightforward enough platform game, superficially in the same vein as First Samurai or Wolfchild.

It's got some nice parallax scrolling, but - you'll love this bit - it's very slow, in fact, it's slow that if you fall off a platform further than about twice the height of your character, the scrolling can't keep up. So what happens? That's right, you fall off the bottom of the screen and die, even if there was actually a platform directly beneath you. Great, eh?

Top-quality programming there for you to spend £26 of your hard-earned money on, eh? Well worth playing for hours on end if there's every chance you're going to fall through a solid platform, die and have to start again (the 'continue' system is actually more a 'start all over again at the beginning of the level with everything you've collected replaced and all the problems desolved' system) because the programmers were too bloody stypid to use graphics that their coding skills were equal to the task of keeping pace with, eh? No, I don't think so either.

Still, the game does have some good points. Some of the problems you have to solve are pleasantly taxing (i.e. you do have to think about them, but not too hard), and you can choose not to watch the intro and game-over sequences (which is a definite blessing).

All the same, while this isn't the worst game we've ever seen here at AMIGA POWE, the question has to be asked - 'with at least a dozen games in exactly the same style already available and all of them 20 times better than this one, why should I bother?' And that's a question I don't have an answer for.