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We are at the finals of Miss UK 1993 and it is time to meet some of the contestants... And now over to Terry who is talking to one of the entrants, the star of Entity, Loriciel's latest adventure.

Terry: Anthemis, I understand you overcame a great hardship to be here tonight.
Anthemis: Yes Terry. I had to save the planet from the terrifying Entity before coming here.
Terry: Really, how interesting. You come from a family of achievers. I believe your father was the head of the council.
Anthemis: Yes, daddy's greatest moment was when he encased the Entity in a monolith. Following that he was elected to the highest position on the council, the Grand Sage.
Terry: I understand your father has not been seen for some time.
Anthemis: Yes, Daddy disappeared recently and the last I heard from him was a video message. I was very shocked to find that he had been reincarnated into the very same block of stone that encasted his arch enemy, the Entity.
Terry: Was this so that he could keep an eye on her?
Anthemis: Yes. Unfortunately, the Entity broke free before Daddy could warn the world.

Terry: So you were the only person who could save the world?
Anthemis: Yes.
Terry: Aren't you a bit short in the muscle department to fit into the standard superhero category? (Audience laughs)
Anthemis: I'm one of a new breed hero - the heroine. Just because we like to war nice clothes and make-up, it does not follow that we do not want to wield a sword or fling firebolts at innocent animals once in a while.
Terry: As long as you do not smudge your lipstick or ladder your stockings. (Smug smile).
Anthemis: I had to fight the monsters controlled by the Entity wearing less foil than your mother wraps around the Christmas Turkey! I'd like to see you run around and climb mountains while trying to stop the strategically placed bits of foil from slipping off and exposing areas best left covered. You do not get scantily clad girls in upmarket games such as Flashback, and even Lionheart modestly covered some of his many muscles.

Terry: But were there any allowances made for you being female?
Anthemis: Well, I lost energy when I fell off vanishing platforms and even when I jumped too high. I suppose that is the price for being a woman. I still had to collect the pieces of the Sceptre of Bismuth, fight the guardians of the five worlds and find Erinwhe's magic boomerang to defeat the enty.
Terry: Erinwhe's magic boomerang? Are you serious? First your father is reincarnated as a block of stone, you prance about wearing strips of foil and then the only thing that can kill the Entity and free the world is a boomerang.
Anthemis: I don't think you're taking me seriously. There were five worlds to beat, the Prehistory, the Mountains, the Forest, the Caves and the Apocalypse. It was no picnic, and I'd like to see a presenter like you get through that lot.
Terry: Too much like hard work. I think I will go and play Flashback instead. And cover yourself up before someone mistakes you for a turkey with plenty of breast for everyone! (Audience applauds)

Die Powerbraut

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Was lange gärt, wird endlich Blut - so sagt man und meint damit, daß sich Wartezeiten meist auch auszahlen. Doch auf Loriciels leicht bekleidete Plattform-Dame trifft der Sinnspruch leider nur begrenzt zu.

Immerhin ist es bereits über ein Jahr her, seit die ersten Ankündigungen und Screenshots von der heißblütigen Anthemis berichteten, jener Kriegerin, die mit Hilfe ihres feurigen Charmes den widerlichen Dämon Entity befrieden will.

Zeit genug also für die Programmierer, ihre reizende Heldin in kleidsames Leder zu verpacken und ein zumindest optisch ansprechendes Action-Adventure drumherum zu stricken. Doch eine schöne Grafik ist ja bekanntlich nur das halbe Leben...

Und auch weibliche Reize allein vermögen so einen Dämon nicht wirklich zu beeindrucken, weshalb die vorausblickende Anthemis einen Laser griffbereitet halt, der sich durch Sammel-Extras zum Dreifachknaller, Flammenwerfer oder Blitzversprüher erweitern läßt.

Derart ausgestattet sind fünf umfangreiche Landschaften zu durchstöbern: Zunächst geht es in die Prähistorik, wo die kämpferische Maid es mit allerlei Flugsauriern, Echsen und anderem Urzeit-Getier aufnimmt, zum Schluß wartet dann ein Mega-Reptil auf seine Abreibung.

Hier wie in den anschließenden Wald-, Berg-, Höhlen - und Kerkerabschnitten liegt die Hauptaufgabe aber nicht im Abschlachten der Gegner, vielmehr gilt es, die versprengten Teile eines Zepters zu finden, das komplettiert den Levelausgang eröffnet.

Zuvor müssen nicht zugängliche Regionen durch Einsacken von Symbol-Schlüsseln begehbar gemacht, luftige Plattformabschnitte gemeistert und bisweilen auch Schriftrollen untersucht werden, die dann einen verschlüsselten Hinweis auf den Fundort eines Bruchstücks geben.

Kombinationsgabe ist also durchaus von Nutzen, eine geschickte Hand am Stick zählt jedoch mehr - vielfach schweben Feindformationen in den ungünstigsten Momenten heran und knabbern unvermittelt am Energievorrat, dann wieder verlangt die Kollisionsabfrage nach milimetergenauen Sprüngen, was die träge Steuerung oft zu verhindern weiß.

Bloß gut, daß unsere Heldin knapp ein Dutzend Leben sowie mehrere Continues im Marschgepäck hat.

An der Spielbarkeit hätten die Programmierer also sicher noch feilen können, die Technik jedoch haben sie fein hingekriegt: Das multidirektionale Scrolling in alle Himmelsrichtungen könnte kaum softer sein, man hat sogar die Möglichkeit, nicht einsehbare Abschnitte durch Ducken heranzuholen.

Wahre Aushängeschilder ihrer Zunft sind die fein gepixelten Backgrounds sowie die sagenhaften Sprite-Animationen: allein, wie der dicke Tyrannosaurus die Zähne fletscht, ist schon absolut sehenswert. Doch auch die kleineren Gegner sind gut geraten, genau wie das Intro. Ganz so doll fallen die zahlreichen Musikstücke und Sound-FX zwar nicht aus, hören lassen können sie sich aber allemal.

Dennoch bleibt Entity eine zweischneidige Angelegenheit: Selbst die fraglos gelungene Präsentation vermag halt die Schwächen im etwas unausgegorenen Gameplay nicht zu überdecken... (rl)

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Anthemis, 25, wants to fight dinosaurs and kill monsters.

Here at AMIGA POWER we like to consider ourselves the masters of the single entendre. Not for us the feeble-witted ripping-off of Viz and the like with a Finbarr Saunders line of humour that stopped being funny about two years ago - we're much more big and clever and grown-up than that, and we like to say what we mean and mean what we say. So, the heroine of Entity - large breasts or what?

I'm sorry, that might have sounded a bit crude, but I'm afraid it just couldn't be avoided - a bit like young Anthemis' chest when she's trying to wriggle into her sleek and shiny one-piece leather cossie for a hard day's dinosaur-zapping.

The Unique Selling point of Entity seems to be the (pretty much) that it stars, instead of the usual impressively-bicep-ed warrior hunk, an impressively-bosomed babe. It says something about the game industry (although I'm not sure exactly what) that after all this time that should still be something approaching a revolutionary concept, but that's a topic for another day (and preferably, another writer on another magazine). Let's forget about the Unique Selling Point(s) of Entity (and move rapidly out of this dangerous mindfield of would-be Political Correctness). Let's play the game.

Entity is a fairly straightforward arcade adventure. It's not as involved as the Shadow Of The Beast series, but it's slightly more complex than first impressions suggest - there's a bit more to do than just shoot everything and get to the end of each level. There are five of these 'level' things, each one being pretty sizeable, and each one is topped with a short separate boss level, culminating in the ultimate battle with the 'Entity' itself.

This Final Conflict is set against a suitably diabolical backdrop, all lava and oppressive cloud formations, which is typical of the visual quality of the game in general - it's lovely, in many ways like Flashback but in a more 'realistic' dark style. In particular, the mountains from the seconds stage look just how mountains should look - bleak, rocky and inhospitable.

There isn't any parallax, but I don't mind that at all, I'm probably in a minority of one here, but I don't really like parallax scrolling most of the time - very few games do it properly or convincingly, and if you've just got it on a couple of levels it looks, as often as not, more like a Captain Pugwash set than anything impressive. As I said way back through the mists of time in a Project X review, having something that nearly works is far worse than simply not trying something you're not going to be able to pull of properly - it just attracts your attention to the shortcomings.

To my mind, it's a real flaw of games like Fire & Ice and the ordinary version of Zool - I'd much prefer to see a nice backdrop locked to the foreground instead of a parallaxing (but blank) graduated colour background, which just looks a bit cheap and tacky and empty. But anyway.

The graphical quality doesn't unfortunately extend to the scrolling or the animation of Anthemis herself - both have a distinct jerkiness problem, with the scrolling being shown in an especially poor light in the aforementioned mountain stage, which involves a lot of climbing up and jumping down and so on.

And Phwoar, eh lads?

Loosely connected to this is one of the nicer gameplay features - several games we've recently seen (the worst offender was Lethal Weapon, but Flashback does it too) suffer from that age-old platform game problem of requiring you to jump into thin air and hope there'll be a platform below you. At first it looks like Entity's the same, but duck down and it scrolls the screen just enough for you to usually see what you're aiming at. Hurrah for that, anyway.

Wrong first impressions are quite a recurring theme when you're playing this, in fact. At first I really didn't like it, but as I stuck at it for a while (for professional reasons), I began to enjoy it more and more. The layout of the levels rewards exploration, you get used to the control of Anthemis (which isn't quite all it should be in terms of response, but somehow ends up workable and natural), and the monsters you meet get more and more impressively slimy and unpleasant.

The sound also seems initially a bit out of place, but after a minute or two you really start to appreciate the weird, 70s sci-fi B-movie feel it brings - and get more and more surprised at the continuing non appearance of Doug McClure.

Still, Entity isn't the kind of game you're going to be playing six months from now. The baddies follow very predictable patterns, and if you take your time and pick them off (killed enemies don't regenerate, which is still generally a good thing in my book), you can make steady progress through to the end, and as long as you've got at least one of your five credits left when you reach the bid bad Entity himself, he's a pushover.

It's really unlucky for Entity that it's appeared in the same month as the similarish-but-much-better Flashback, which is likely to overshadow it totally, but that in itself doesn't make it a bad game. (Rage's Striker suffered the same fate at the hands of Sensible Soccer last year). This is good fun, but I can't really see who's is going to buy it.