SO WHAT does the future hold? Perhaps Russel Grant can help, but what about computer games: What will be a classic in five or six years time? Products like Dungeon Master, Xenon and Blood Money spring to mind, but those games that are already classics, what will have happened to them?
Live Studios have the answer here. Future Classics is the revival of games past, such games that were tops in the early Eighties when electronic entertainment was all the rage. How many of you can remember 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81? How many of you remember the ZX81? You will all know Pacman though and will be even more familiar with Tetris. So far you will be getting the gist of Future Classics.
If it sounds boring, you are right it does. I mean what is the point of re-releasing old stuff what is seven years old if it is a day? Well, or course it has had a little spice added to it just to beef it up but is it still mutton dressed as a lamb? (Hold on a moment, young Banner. Although I hate those dreadful interruption from editorial staff, I feel I have to interject here to say that 3D Monster Maze on the ZX81 was one of the all-time great computer games - Aj).
The honest answer to that is no.
Sure all of the games have already done the rounds in one form or another but now they are back in a form which you have not seen before. Future Classics is also quite unique in its play methods. I cannot say that I have ever found a game before that allows so many different methods of play. In its most basic form, each game can be played by a single player. Expanding upon that you can get a friend to take control of the keyboard or second joystick and play together, either against one another in competition or in conjunction. If you have not not a friend (and let us face it, you are a boring SOB!), Future Classics provides you with a partner. Three computer personalities are included for you to while away the hours. Two player games can take place using a split screen method so that play can be simultaneous.
Future Classics contains five games: Diskman, Diet Riot, Tank battle, Blockalanche and Lost 'n' Maze. Both Diskman and Diet Riot are loosely based upon Pacman, in that they are plan view games with something chasing you. Diet Riot sees a obsessive slimmer in an environmental quest to close all the fast junk food joints in town. This is achieved by collecting all the food crates and dumping them in the trash whilst avoiding the various chunks of tasty menu morsels which endeavour to fatten you up. Unfortunately, the fatter you get the slower you move and the faster you are on your way to a coronary. So to work off those calories with speed, clamber on to the gym equipment and lift those weights.
Diskman involves a man and his quest to save his data from total corruption by destroying the computer viruses while Blockalance is yet another version of the popular Tetris game (a game which I find terminally dull). However, Blockalanche adds a new dimension, displaying the screen in 3D and allowing you to select which blocks will appear, you can even position them before they drop.
Lost 'n' Maze is a re-run of the ever popular 3D maze, find the exit game and Tank Attack is a 30mm armoured vehicle shoot out from the days past.
Future Classics is simply a product which is well overdue. There are few original games being released today so I see no reason why even older style games should be forced into oblivion without digging so deep into the past you come up relics like Space Invaders. Although Diskman is a little ropy, Lost 'n' Maze is great fun as is Tank Attack. There is nothing wrong with a little nostalgia now-and-again.