Into the valley of weirdness

Dr Plummet's House of Flux logo

OK, so you've seen it all before, it's just another Thrust-Raider-Oids clone, yeah, yeah. Next program please. Oh good, lots of blood and violence, now this is what games are all about...
But hold on a minute, because if you pass Dr Plummet's House of Flux by, you'll be missing out on something. Not missing out on some state of the art programming. Not missing out on originality, or wonderful effects. You'd miss out on a neat sense of humour, something which is getting hard to find these days, and mostly coming from across the Atlantic. Remember, if it makes me start a paragraph with "but" then it is something worth looking at

The Dr Plummet, bored with mankind (and alien-kind for that matter) has set himself up on a custom-built planet to hide away with his ultimate weapon, designed the previous week. Obviously both the aliens and the humans are after this weapon, hell bent on death and devastation.

And you? Well, you know better. You aren't a breadhead into destruction and heavy things like that. You're a good guy, and you're going to rescue the good doctor. Or at least have a try.

Your ship is of the small, rotatable, thrustable type wit blasters and standard issue weapon deflection shields. Ideally suited to exploring outer space and strange planets, or at least, planets which obey the normal physical rules.

Dr Plummet was never one for rules, so his idea of gravity and Newton's concept tend to differ in places. Somewhat dramatically at times. Like, opposite even. Or at the very least, very odd.

In several scenarios it is more like flying a stunt kite than a spaceship, swooping and diving in circles to rescue the astronauts. Didn't I mention astronauts? There are six to be rescued before you move on to the next scenario, each weirder than the one before.

They are grouped into four sections of seven, allowing you to choose your starting place. They range from seemingly un-wierd planets to zones with seriously hypnotic backgrounds.
My favourite was a land of the giants, based ina laboratory. It was great fun reliving A level organic chemistry from the point of view of a benzene molecule.

This is the kind of game I really like. Written more as a hobby than a professional product. More for fun than fame. Flying in the face of "real" Amiga programmers everywhere, it even obeys some (but not all) operating system rules, so I managed to install it on to my hard disc.

This almost makes up for the bog-standard font used to display scores. Looks bad, guys. Ruins the karma. A bit of parallax scrolling would have been mind expanding too. But hey, I'm mellow and won't complain too much.

With the game you get some nice props to make you feel better about spending your money, and quite right too. Opening a huge box to nothing more than a folder A4 sheet of instructions and a disc is very depressing. Dr Plummet has enclosed some alien currency and a letter from a chum for you to read. It all adds to the game, lifting it above the ordinary.
It's fun. Get it.

Dr Plummet's House of Flux logo

MICROILLUSIONS £19.95 * Keyboard or Joystick

There are not too many Thrust clones on the Amiga, so American publishers Microillusions reckon it is about time there were more. This one gives the player 28 levels spread over four increasingly difficult missions, where the idea is to fly around the often bizarre and psychedelic levels and rescue a set number of highly animated astronauts by flying into them and you move on to the next level.

The levels vary in size and complexity, including extremely thin tunnels, gaps and gravity which have to be negotiated on some of the later levels.

Just to complicate things more, there are enemy bases on later levels that fire at the ship whenever it gets too close.

Simple ideas are often the best and if you are a fan of precise control and gameplay, with just the right level of frustration, you are going to be wowed by this. It is tremendous fun but all that concentrating can give you a headache after a while. Everyone should have at least one game of this type in their collection.

Außen hui, innen pfui:

Dr Plummet's House of Flux logo

Die Canadische Company "Microillusions verdankt ihren guten Namen einem einzigen Programm, "Faery Tale Adventure". Alles andere war bisher bestenfalls Durchschnitt, und das hat sich auch mit diesem Game kein bißchen geändert...

Die Freude über die aufwendige Packung, die lustigen Sprüche und die satirische Vorgeschichte um den obstkuren Dr. Plummet währt genau bis zu dem Moment, wenn das Game geladen ist. Dann verpufft der schöne Schein, und zurück bleibt ein "Graffity Force"-Verschnitt mit übelster Billig-grafik!

Im Klartext: In vier Missionen mit jeweils etwa sieben Leveln müssen mit einem winzigen Raumschiff zappelnde Astronauten aufgesammelt und gelegentlich ein feindliches Objekt zerballert werden. Die Schwierigkeitsgrad liegt in der Steuerung (Schiff drehen, Gas geben), da der allgegenwärtige Sog der Schwerkraft überlistet werden muß.

Zwar hat das betagte Spielprinzip noch immer einen gewissen Reiz, jedoch nie und nimmer in solcher Aufmachung - gegen House of Flux nimmt sich so manches PD-Game wie eine Offenbarung aus.

Einziger Lichtblick sind der hübsche Loadingscreen und die gute Titelmelodie; während des Spiels sind die Standard-Soundeffekte noch das Beste. Weder die geheimen Bonusmöglichkeiten (eine pro Level), noch die ausführliche Highscoreliste können dieses Machwerk vor dem Total-Reinfall retten.

Für solchen Schund aber auch noch stattliche 85,- Steine zu verlangen, grenzt hart an Straßenraub und sollte auch entsprechend bestraft werden...! (ml)