Not all of this black magic is mumbo jumbo - just ask Boots Barker. After a marital dispute left him stranded deep in the deepest deeps of the Congo, he awoke to find he had been cursed. An evil withc doctor had snuck up on our poor hero and attached a magic mask unmovably to his head. Boots was now the proud owner of a real Voodoo Nightmare.
There is one chance - a long shot but it might just work - for Boots to remove his headgear and get back to civilisation. You must guide him through eight tasks which, when complete, allow a final showdown with the Doc who will then remove the mask. Can you help Boots discover the secret of the black magic hat box?
The jungle is a strange and dangerous, isometric 3D wilderness. And, just as one would expect, it is littered with temples, beasties, shops, natives, traps and cansions. Casinos? All this is not immediately obvious, though, as Boots comes to. He is one man lost and alone in the land that Strimmers forgot. Discovering what to do is the first task, so some sundry adventuring, wandering and generally nosey is the order of the day.
Boots can jump over obstacles and on the creatures he meets, killing them with his 58-hole DMs. He can collect stuff to sell or use and stand over energy-giving food to eat - large wooden masks apparently inhibit more normal methods of consumption.
Near where Boots awakes is a small pyramid with a paving slab in front. What quickly becomes apparent - because there is nothing else around - is that you have to enter it, on the first of five temple-clearing exercises. Once in, the aim is to dash about the place desperately grabbing jewels. This requires much stomping, use of the spider's web teleports and satisfying a big, bad, god-like figure's demands.
This earns the player not points, but pins, to stick in boots' very own witch doctor Voodoo doll. Get eight of these and you earn a crack at the good doctor himself. Unfortunately, there are only five temples to raid for pin purposes, so to gather the other stickers you need to fulfil three other missions as well.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
An eerie soundtrack runs continually in the background - spooky! This offsets the overly cute graphics. The creepy crawlies creep and crawl just the way they should, while some dubious 1930s caricature natives pop up unexpectedly from the foliage. The foliage is solid enough to avoid confusion over passable routes, while ging enemies a place to hide in and surprise you from.
The isometric design is at its best in the temples, allowing the maximum view of each room. The size of the characters and the interaction between them and the scenery is good. Moving blocks by pushing is easily accomplished, while the introduction of the teleport allows for some really fiendish puzzles.
Voodoo Nightmare is big, with eight small adventures crammed into the first half. The Temples are complex and require repeated attempts, while the need to solve them in the correct sequence, carrying the right kit, makes game-saving vital. Yet the game is hamstrung by an over-responsive control system which takes considerable patience and playing time to master. You will find Boots falling off bridges and missing jumps just because of the lightness of touch required. Voodoo Nightmare is a large game that would take many attempts to ebat if control was perfect, but hampered by such a control system it will take twice as long. Such is the incremental frustration factor of dying needlessly, that many give up before the game really gets its addictive hook in.
Voodoo looks the part and sounds the part. Mercilessly big and with an emphasis on a correct sequence of play, it has real lasting potential. This is marred, though not irrevocably, by the irritating control which causes needless suffering for players who die when they least deserve it. This is a crying shame as Voodoo could have been one of the true greats of the isometric 3D genre. If only Boots would drink less coffee and was less prone to leap maniacally around ath the merest thought of a joystick command.