Nebulus 1 logo Amiga Computing Value Award

DOWN on the planet Nebulus all is not well. Someone has been building giant towers in the middle of the sea - and they didn't even apply for planning permissions.
Awakening from your morning nap in the offices of Destructo Inc., you are told by your boss about your latest destruction job which involves the new Mk.7 Mini-Sub and a pay rise.

The submarine surfaces at the base of each tower with an almost effective burst of sampled sound. Your task is to climb to the top of the tower - which is stewn with ledges, tunnels and lifts - within the allowed time.
Some of the ledge dissolve, while others are slippery causing you to slide comically. Flashing blocks, bouncing balls and strange creatures are intent on knocking you off your balance. You are equipped with a blaster that if fired accurately can stop or destroy some hazards.

The most amusing part is being knocked off a ledge and landing back on a lower level or in the sea. You only lose a life if you tumble into the water, so the higher you are the safer things become.

If by some minor miracle you manage to reach the top of the tower you enter the final door. A destruction sequence will be set off, the tower collapses and bonus point awarded for the time left. When a tower has been destroyed you get back in your submarine and travel underwater to the next tower. Travelling from tower to tower you can collect bonuses, catching fish by shooting air bubbles.

Nebulus was designed by John Phillips initially for the Commodore 64 and has been converted perfectly by the same man.
Although the design is very simple, some of the mechanics used to create the rotational 3D scrolling and the multi-parallax scrolling on the underwater game are most complex.
The rotational scrolling runs at 25 frames a second while the underwater scene is nearly twice as fast. The tower reflected in the surface of the water using a mathematical formula.

The technical achievements in Nebulus are impressive, the graphics are beautifully illustrated and superbly animated. The colour scheme used is gorgeous and it seems at times that even more than 32 colours are on the screen.
The music at the start of the title page is very effective, and spot effects are some of the best I've heard on an Amiga. Not only are they well sampled, but their interaction with the game have also been well engineered.

I can't recommend this one highly enough, it's one of the most refreshing and enjoyable games I've had the pleasure of playing this year.
If you only buy one game this month make sure that it's Nebulus and you won't be disappointed.

Nebulus 1 logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £19.99

Recently, Hewson have been assaulting the Amiga market with some great releases such as Zynaps and Cybernoid. This trend now continues with the release of nebulus.

When I first saw Nebulus it was on the Spectrum, and at the time I did not think too much of it. But now after playing the 64 and Amiga versions I can safely say I have been hooked on one of the most addictive games of all time.

The basic idea is simply to try and make it to the top of each tower; but it is the route you take that is the problem. Firstly, there is only one real path, and from here on in that strategy is like a heavy snort of chess, but far more devious. To progress up the tower you need to use platforms, lifts and doorways. The problem with doorways is that unless you are an experienced player you never quite know where you are going to end up: in a better position or in the drink. Lifts are straightforward green man-carriers, although they can also lead to some rather nasty knocks on the head. The platforms also contain pitfalls such as the annoying habit of vaporising under your feet or being greased just as you bypass a particularly nasty alien, forcing you back into it.

Each tower scrolls rotationally as well as vertically and mastering the mild concept of this idea is half the key to being successful in your approach. If you come across a lift which is blocked by a destructible platform that cannot be shot from where you stand, an alternative route is required to bring you onto the same height as the block. As long as the block is in range of your killer snowballs, you can clear the block, scurry back to your position, and use the lift in safety.

Other problems require avoiding some really nasty because they go one step further than actually killing you, they knock you down a level or two on the tower you are on. This may not sound much but after struggling for ages on a particularly difficult bit with precious time slipping away, this can be agonisingly painful.

Between each tower is a bonus level where you, in the guise of your little puggy man, happily blast away at marine life, encasing fish in bubbles and collecting them for a time bonus on the next tower.

The addictive qualities of this game are literally phenomenal; all you need are a few quick goes and you are hooked - like the majority of the CU team seem to be at the moment. In a game with as limited of play as Nebulus the graphics have been produced extremely well. When you start, the base of the tower and the nasties are realistically reflected in the water below, and the sky is beautifully graded using around 60 colours on-screen. Clever stuff, eh?

Sampled sound effects are abundant, though not exactly the most amazing I have ever heard. Still, the sound is suitable when set against the cute, pug-nosed main sprite and those annoying aliens, one of which enters with a dry wheezing cough!

Nebulus is going to be one hell of a game to complete, but then it is going to be one hell of a game to put down again - probably one of the most addictive games ever to be released anywhere (honestly).

In fact it should carry a health warning: the amount of times people have nearly thumped the Amiga (Jarratt) or a wall for that matter has to get a mention. Ultimately, it is a mentally stimulating, reflex testing, light hearted game that must rank as one of the best ever releases.

Shoot Balls and climb and not a banana in sight!

Nebulus 1 logo Zzap Gold Medal Award

Hewson, £19.99 disk

Pogo is a demolition worker. He does not wear a hard yellow hat, but he does drive a JCB submarine and leaps around a lot. The reason for this is that he lives on the planet Nebulus, a planet with loads of water, so if he didn't drive a submarine he'd get a bit wet.

Now, some naughty so-and-so has been building big towers in the sea, for no particular reason a-tall! These towers are a bit of an eyesore to tell the truth, not to mention the distress they cause the fish. Someone must be found to destroy the towers and return the seas of Nebulus to normal. With no consideration for personal danger and hardship, the head of Destructo Inc (Pogo's boss) volunteers... Pogo.

Zzap's Rockford: Aaarrghhh! My face, my face!Having been dragged out of bed, Pogo stumble into his sub and chugs off to the towers.

This is the point where you take the part of Pogo in the Amiga version of Nebulus. To destroy the towers you must shut down the supporting field located at the top of the tower by climbing up via a series of platforms. Now the nasty fiend that constructed the towers wanted to make sure that they were left alone, so he rigged them with traps and guards, to try and make you fall off into the water (glug) thus losing one of your three lives.

If you do manage to complete the level (by reaching the top of the tower), Pogo is so pleased that he plays a little tune on his portable Casio keyboard - but he's no musician so he hits a couple of bum notes!

Next comes the bonus level which consists of a horizontally scrolling section in which you must catch fish by shooting bubbles at them and then collecting them for bonus points. After that we have (gasp!) the next - harder - level! Da-DAAAAA! But if you're so hard that you complete all the towers easily then why not try MISSION TWO! (Oh no! Not mission two! Anything but mission two!) Ha-ha-ha...

Gordon Hougton Well, this is just about the best conversion I've seen from an 8-bit to an Amiga! None of the gameplay been lost - the towers are just as hard - and this time there are twice as many! In fact, if you thought the 64 version was tough, just try mission 2 on the Amiga - aaaargh! In fact, I'll say it again in case you missed the point - aaaaaaaaargh!! The graphics are just about spot on, even if the rotation does slow everso slightly when there are quite a few balls bouncing around, and even though the sound FX are sparse, they're still pretty neat. The action grabs you right from the start and doesn't let go: not a game to play when you're trying to finish a mega Christmas issue. Just one more thing: miss this and you're missing one of the most original and addictive games on the Amiga!
Maff Evans I was a great fan of the 64 version of Nebulus so I was really looking forward to seeing the Amiga version. I must say I'm not at all disappointed. It's brilliant! Some of the graphical touches, such as the reflections in the water are simply stunning, and the rotational effect is every bit as good as the 8-bit version. Sound is also used to good effect, with some wonderful plinky-plonk tunes and spot effects, although I don't know why they've used the sound of Herman Munster coughing! Now there's something I haven't mentioned... ah, yes! Gameplay! Well, in a word it's absolutely fantastic (that's two - Ed). Okay, shut up, shut up! The action is frenetic to say the least, panic often setting in when a monster or robot bears down on you from the other side of the tower! Well, I think I've told you enough about it, I'm going for another go!
Paul Glancey Hnngghhh! Hnnnnghh! This is driving me crazy! Nebulus' frighteningly addictive platforming puzzles stopped work, not only in the ZZAP! Office, but also in the nether regions of the Art department! I had expected some improvements over the 64 version, but a whole alternate set of towers was a bit of a surprise. John Phillips has really taken a lot of care over the game graphics which feature loads of lavish touches, such as the rippling waves and reflections in the water, and the ability to see through the holes in the towers. The tower designs are utterly heartless, allowing you to get really close to the top of the tower with only a few seconds left, thinking 'I'm going to make it!' And then you're stranded on an isolated platform with nowhere to go and one of those spinning bas... - er, things - appears and knock you halfway down the tower. HNNNGGHH!!