[Acorn Gaming]


Search for Humanity

[ 5/5 ***** 5/5 ]

When I first looked at Emotions I thought it was just another boring old platform game. But it isn't. After just half an hour of play I was bitten by Emotion's addictive blend of finely-tuned gameplay and genuinely amusing touches of humour. It really is just one cool game! If you can manage to play this without ever once smiling then you should see a doctor for serious humour deficiency as a matter of urgency!

[Emotions Logo]

The game begins with a reasonably lengthy animated introduction, which - highly unusually for an original Acorn game - manages to be well-drawn, accompanied by good music and even vaguely funny! And from this point onwards the standard never drops. Not once.


Wandering his way through various levels in a search for the holy grail of 'Emotions', you guide plain-looking Henky Penky to the exit, solving puzzles and avoiding enemies. It doesn't sound very original - and in many ways it isn't - but the execution really is excellent. It's full of little touches that you might not even be individually aware of, but they add up to the sort of addictive qualities that mean you really must always have just that one more go! The puzzles, which usually involve picking up objects and carrying them around to build platforms, are all perfectly designed so that they are just difficult enough not to be obvious, but not so hard that you ever get stuck for very long.

You only have one 'life' - when you die or get stuck you must start the level again. This doesn't hinder the game's playability, as you might reasonably expect it to, but in fact greatly enhances it, because each level is very carefully designed to be just the right length. What I at first took to be the game's greatest weakness turns out to be one of it's greatest strengths - you never fear too much to try out a particular solution because you know that it won't take you very long to get back to the position you were in again.

The whole thing gleams with polish. From the animated menus to the very smooth fades, and from the transparency effects to the full configurability, the entire game smells of the sweet scent of intensive playtesting and attention to detail.

[Screenshot]One of the game's biggest assets is its great sense of humour. I simply adore the flowers with attitude that are littered throughout the game. They're not usually anything other than background detail, but the sheer range of expression conveyed in their tiny little faces is amazing. The first time they get stroppy when you step on them you can't help but laugh, and on later stages they whip out guns and shoot you if you tread on them too much. It's really cool!

The game is full of little touches that ensure it never gets boring. Sometimes the background will suddenly be important, or at other times a helpful hint will appear at the bottom of the screen. And every five levels you get to meet a big boss enemy, all of which are highly imaginative. The boss sequences start off with a very amusing pastiche on Mortal Kombat - if you've ever seen or played one of these games you'll find it very hard not to be amused! It's attention to detail like this that speaks volumes about the game. Kill a boss and you get a cartoon 'fatality' sequence, too - you might run off the screen and come back in a tank to blast the thing to smithereens, for example. And when you first meet the second boss and discover that it's a giant version of the little creatures you've been splatting earlier you've just got to laugh!

[Screenshot]There is a good variety of cartoon creatures to encounter, but even the same creatures act differently from level to level - sometimes they block your way, other times they attack you in various ways (even down to licking you!), and sometimes they just wander around harmlessly. As you progress the game genuinely changes - it isn't just a case of a fresh coat of paint every few levels, a weakness many other similar games suffer from.

I don't like the way you can sometimes wander off the screen so that you can't see yourself, but I'm pleased to say that this is the only criticism I can think of in the entire game! Once you get past the first two levels the game opens up into an addictive feast that you won't be able to put down until you finish it!

This game has everything going for it - brilliant design, great graphics, and the music and sound don't let the side down, either. Even the packaging is great, too - colourful and with some attractive transparent disc wallets. And the crowning glory is it's excellent budget price, at only £19.95.

[Screenshot]Full configurability lets you tailor the game to your needs - if you don't like the cartoon blood splashing out when you destroy a cartoon enemy then you can turn it down, or off. And if you'd rather play a music CD using the CD-ROM drive than listen to the game's great built-in music then you can do that instead if you wish.

Only Risc PC owners can play this game, but it takes advantage of some of the hardware with redefined palettes and gamma-correction fades. A good reason to upgrade, perhaps, if you have an earlier computer!

Emotions manages to include all those subtle touches which turn an average game into a really great game. As a result it is one of the best Acorn-only games ever released. Buy it at once!

Review by Gareth Moore, ©1997

[ 5/5 ***** 5/5 ]

Available from:
The Datafile
PO Box 175
BS23 4PU
Tel/Fax (01934) 644046
Costs £19.95 plus £1 P&P

You can download a demo from The Datafile's web site, but make sure you don't get put off by the first two levels, which are a bit dull!

5Mb of free memory is needed to run Emotions, as well as 5Mb of free space on your hard-disc. 1Mb of VRAM is also recommended.

...this page last updated: 6/9/97...
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