Grecian 2000 Atari funsters KUA haven't been too inactive lately. After
their Maggie intro and Sierpinski 4k intro for the SV2000 party, this is
their latest small but perfectly formed entree to the Atari scene.
Kuo Vadis isn't any sort of demo or intro, and it certainly doesn't feature
any Sierpinski fractals. Instead, in this amusement-starved start to the new
millenium, it is that most welcome of sights, a new game.
KUA have kept it simple and sweet for this first release. Kuo Vadis is an
adaptation or knock-off of the timeless classic 'Daleks'. Those people with
long memories and large PD collections may well remember the ST version of
this game. This took a fairly literal approach to the subject matter, Daleks
were depicted as such, within the limitations of the graphical format, and
the player was adopting the persona of Dr Who to defeat them. (Tom Baker
era, I think, floppy hat and very long scarf both optional!)
The aim of Kuo/Daleks is very simple. Dodge the waves of oncoming daleks,
make them bump into each other, or the aftermath of previous collisions,
with your sly and adept sidestepping. Teleport to a random location on the
screen, when the daleks get suffocatingly close, repeat until all daleks
have self-immolated, and the next, even denser wave is onscreen.
For a universally feared so-called master race. The daleks really are an
incredibly stupid machine intelligence. They are drawn en-masse to the
figure of the doctor/player, not seeing or caring to take note of their
fellow daleks getting ever close to each other. This phenomonen can be
witnessed in the ancient Earth ritual known as "rush hour"!
Playing Kuo is deceptively simple, the daleks move only when you move, and
most of the time, a quick teleport is sufficient to get you away from a
tight corner. This does induce a state of complacency, so the daleks do get
you in the end, when you momentarily forget to spot how close they are to
you. One correspondent in the Dead Hackers bulletin board remarked on the
absence of a 'sonic screwdriver' option from the original ST version of the
game. I seem to remember (vaguely and badly) that version of the game being
more tightly turn-based with a worse teleport? Kuo Vadis seems to be more
generous in allowing the doctor/player to escape, and seems to be faster
flowing generally (or was that down to the fact I was running on an Falcon
The presentation has been revamped a little bit for the opening year of the
new millenium. Gone are late eighties GEM-ish graphics, here instead, is
something that looks, well, not so out of place on an 8-bit machine...
This isn't a damning comment by me though, as it is an 8-bit style DONE
WELL! A smart pseudo-menu bar system forms the crucial title and attract
sequences, and is the framework to the game itself. The ingame graphics
themselves, are functional, very close to that 8-bit or early console
heritage I mentioned earlier. However, they do the job just fine. There is a
modfile soundtrack for the title screen, a jaunty folky tune, again, not out
of character with the game. The separate parts of Kuo Vadis come together
pretty well to make the game as a whole hang together successfully. Little
touches like the attract sequence suggest that there is an underlying
professionalism to KUA, which we will surely see more of in future releases.
Kuo Vadis was written for the STe, runs on the Falcon, almost runs on a
Falcon on CT2 mode, but it is not really recommended to do that. The music
tends to go 'missing' on the Falcon, but that doesn't detract from the main
point of the game.
Anyway, to conclude, Kuo Vadis is a good interpretation of a classic and
timeless game. We look forward to more releases from KUA soon.
Graphics:- 60% - Intriguing combination of basic, almost VCS console styled
ingame graphics, and smart title and endgame presentation.
Sound:- 70% - Good choice of title music, otherwise not a lot of sound.
Playability:- 80% - Smooth, timeless, slightly addictive.
Overall:- 75% - Simple but fun!
CiH - Sept 2000