On a trip to Cirrus Minor

Cloud Kingdoms logo

IT ISN'T easy being green. We're not talking about buying "No Phosphate" washing powders which never actually contained phosphates anyway. No, we're talking physically green - you know, sort of easy to lose on a football pitch kind of colour.

It wasn't the problem of galloping verdancy that was uppermost in Terry the Green's mind. The evil Baron von Bonsai (Boo Hiss ad nauseum) had stolen Terry's magic crystals and was using them to corrupt the Happy Cloud Fairies. Quite how the Baron was planning to use them was anybody's guess, but it probably involved hanging around street corners with a radio-pager and an Uzi.

"Drat! Those Magic Crystals were for my own personal use!" thought Terry to himself. Without further ado (whatever that may be) he shot off to the Cloud Kingdoms.
On arrival, a sorry sight met his eyes. The Happy Cloud Fairies had mutated into Bad Insect Monsters and Giant Rolling Blackballs. "Those crystals must have been a bad batch. Just as well I didn't use them", thought Terry.

At this point it may be a good idea to explain that, although Terry is a small green bouncy ball, he does a nice line in looking unshaven and disreputable. For a good example of looking unshaven and disreputable, see the Amiga Computing editorial team. I won't spoil it by telling you which is which, though.

There are four maze-like kingdoms which Terry can clean up for starters. Two of them seem to be somewhat difficult. The Unseen Kingdom has an invisible maze, so you don't know where you are going, or even where you should be going. The Arrow Kingdom is covered with arrow tiles, which accelerate you off the edge of the Kingdom.

The best one to start on is the Cloud Kingdom. You have a time limit to collect all your Magic Crystals, and there are a whole load of patrolling enemies to get past. You will have to paint in some of the floor using the Magic Paint Pots to get all the crystals.

You'll also make some interesting discoveries about the floor -some bits disappear as soon as you roll over it. Do I need to tell you that you instantly plummet through the hole that you make? I think not.

The Quartet Kingdom is much more difficult. Not merely do you have contend with disappearing floors and patrolling enemies, but you also have a floor littered with magnets. These stick you down and prevent you from jumping over the nasties. A similar effect can be had in real life by eating an entire suet pud.

Cloud Kingdoms reminds me of both Skweek and Incredible Shrinking Sphere, but isn't exactly like either. The graphics are pretty terrible - not so much YASTP, more YAC64P - which is exactly what it is. On first seeing this game, I really loathed it, but after playing around with it for a while I've discovered it's fun.

It's still inexcusable that two out of the four starter Kingdoms are virtually impossible. Likewise instant death by falling through the floor. Well, not death - you don't lose any time, but you get put back to the start of the Kingdom.

Cloud Kingdoms is a real C64 game; solid and difficult gameplay, average graphics and passable sound. But what I do find strange is that in attempt to stop hacking, the game hangs on reset. Only a powerdown will restore the machine - why not just disable the reset?

Cloud Kingdoms is quite neat, actually. Uncomplicated frustration and lots of levels will keep you occupied.

Cloud Kingdoms logo

Schnelle Reaktionen mit ein geschickter Umgang mit dem Joystick sind einfach alles bei Millenniums neuem Game. Ja, und Spaß macht es dazu auch noch eine ganze Menge...

Unter Zeitdruck steuert man einen grünen Flummi durch 32 labyrinthartige Spielzonen, um alle dort herumliegenden Diamanten aufzusammeln. Zuer Erschwernis dienen glitsche Eisbahnen, auf denen der Flummi ausrutscht, außer Kontrolle gerät und dadurch öfters in einen Abgrund stürzt.

Gefährlich sind auch Kollisionen mit Insekten oder herumhüpfenden Billardkugeln. Eingesammelte Alkoholfalschen haben ebenfalls verheerende Folgen: Die Steuerung spielt verrückt, und der nächste Abgrund ist meist nicht weit!

Hier hilft nur geschicktes Übersprungen der Hindernisse - möglichst ohne in eines der zahlreichen Löcher zu fallen! Aber neben diesen negativen Gimmicks findet man auch ein paar ganz nützliche Dinge: Uhren, die die Zeit verlängern, Farbtöpfe, um die gefährlichen Fallgruben auszumalen, Flügel (flatter, flatter), oder Falltüren, die sich als Eingänge zu geheimen Kristallkammern erweisen.

Cloud Kingdoms bietet Spielspaß pur, die 32 Level halten den Spieler problemlos für einige Wochen am Screen fest. Technisch ist es beachtlich in Szene gesetzt: Acht-Wege-Scrolling, flüssige Animationen und stimmungsvolle Sounds von David Whittaker.

Einziger Wermutstropfen sind einige nahezu unspielbare Stellen, da hätten die Programmierer ruhig noch ein Weilchen an der "Playability" feilen können!

Aber wer vor dem bißchen Frust nicht zurückschreckt, erhält ein hübsches Geschicklichkeitsspiel im Stil von "Rock 'n Roll". (C. Borgmeier)

Cloud Kingdoms logo

Logotron, £9.99 cassette, £14.99 disk; Amiga £24.99

If you never thought of yourself as a small, green-hued ball capable of rolling in eight different directions, now is your opportunity. But there's a reasons why you're such a sickly colour: your magic balls have been nicked by a tiny, twisted, oriental tree - Baron von Bonsai!

The Baron has used your crystal balls to enslave the Fairies in Cloud Kingdoms, turning them into Bad Insect Monsters and Giant Rolling Blackballs. They drain your energy on contact and guard 15 kingdoms on the C64, 32 on the Amiga.

When you start the game you have a choice of four kingdoms to begin with. On completing a level you return here, so you have a choice of how to go through the game. Many levels contain tricky features such as trapdoors, icy floors, repelling pinball bumpers, and magnetic suction tiles.

The game is played against a weird time limit. The clock starting at 99 Manukas (each worth about four seconds) - the game is over when it reaches zero. Time can be put back by five Manukas by collecting a clock, and 20 Manukas by completing a kingdom. But ten Manukas are lost every time you drop down a hole or lose all your energy. You can also spend five Manukas resetting a level to its start position by pausing the game, then pressing 'R'.

Besides the clocks, there are Fizzy Pop Bottles to recharge your energy, Paint Pots to draw bridges under you while you move, Wings so you can fly over barriers, and Shields for invulnerability.

Phil King Unlike many games where you merely repeat levels with different graphics, Cloud Kingdoms really forces you to develop a new tactical approach for each level. The Amiga version has quite a few more levels of course, but is more difficult which can lead to frustration. Still, there are some very attractive cartoon-style graphics, plus some good sonics.
The C64 version opens with some nice music and whirling star fields which really get you in the mood, and the in-game graphics keep you playing to see yet more of them. A more generous collision detection and fractionally slower gameplay add up to a thankfully easier game than the Amiga. Heartily recommended.
Robin Hogg Why do I get the feeling that I've seen this sort of thing before? Probably because it smacks of Quedex. Although not as technically impressive, it's a lot more enjoyable with the hero having a lot of character about his bouncy self. The 64 version is a superbly crafted game with lots of wonderful shading and a host of different graphic styles.
I wasn't too impressed by the Amiga game although the graphic variety and attention to detail are worthy of note (a surprise to see that Dokk did the graphics). The fast scrolling ups the pace a bit too much for my liking. What's worse, the dodgy collision detection is pretty mean, making it a tad frustrating to play and nowhere near as fun as the C64 game.