News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 10

                              by Trigon Software

I first came across a demo level version of this,  many Maggies ago. At that
point,  it  looked  like  so many rough but promising game engines  for  the
Falcon that never got finished.

However,  it  did  have  the fact that it was fully playable  going  in  its
favour,  and  also  that it bore some resemblance to the very  long  delayed
"Willies  Adventures" project from New Beat.  It was only a fair to middling
resemblance, mind you, as Willies was considered to be the superior product.

After  the level preview,  nothing more was heard of 'Blum',  and it quietly
slipped out of sight thereafter.

However,  in  a  dramatic twist of a kind which seems to be happening a  lot
lately,  it turns out that 'Blum' was completed,  a full version exists, and
the guy behind Trigon Software,  Roland Tomczak,  has decided to release the
full  version in the public domain!  I guess that Blum did have some sort of
release originally, but never got out of France?

There  is quite a lot to it,  a chunky download depacks into several  items,
and a lot of stuff placed in a confusing fashion,  including several updates
to key files. There is even an "easy" version of the main executable, as the
game is judged by its creator to be rather on the tough side.

But eventually,  you do make sense of it all, and get the files in the right
places, and you are ready to start and run the game.

This game is a child of the mid-nineties period,  as I find out quickly what
it  does  not like.  You can forget about accelerated  machines,  especially
CT60.  It  also  sneezes at Nvdi,  which tends not to be an issue with newer
software, and I'm not sure how well it gets on with some VGA screens either,
as it doesn't like mine!

However,  if  you have a Falcon connected to an RGB screen,  and run it in a
fairly plain configuration, you will be fine.

Starting  it up,  and you get a choice of English or French,  which is nice.
Overall,  'Blum'  is  a  very Gallic flavoured game,  not as much as  Multi-
Briques,  but  close  to  it.  Then there is a four option menu for  various
combinations of Game,  intro,  and music, with the second two being optional
if needed.  The intro only needs to be viewed once,  but it is worth keeping
the music on.

Finally,  we  get  to the main menu,  where the game proper starts.  Further
options,  such  as defining the control method,  and difficulty level can be
found  here.  So I opt for 'easy' and Jaguar Joypad and we're ready to enter
the game at last!

Graphically,  it is unchanged from the preview, at least the first level is,
and  bears  quite  a  large resemblance to  the  jungle  levels  in  Willies
Adventures.  If  you were being unkind,  you could describe Blum as a budget
version of Willies Adventures.

                          Blum has got balls!

This  is  being unkind,  as there has been a reasonable effort made  on  the
backgrounds.  The  main character sprite,  'Blum',  is not much more than an
animated beachball with feet,  but there are some nicely drawn enemy sprites
which Blum has to avoid.

The  provision of music is typical for a Falcon game from the mid  nineties,
with best use being made of the audio,  featuring several sumptious sounding
four channel modfiles,and upon listening to them more closely, even a couple
of eight channel tunes. This part of Blum is definitely not a cheap remix of
anything else.

The  action  is  classic platform adventure,  as Blum has to  make  his  way
through several levels,  in order to free his beachball girlfriend Flum from
the evil wizard Dader.  The usual combination of jumping and timed platforms
is featured in this game. One thing which would have been useful, would have
been an ability to dispose of some of the enemies on the way.  The generally
pacifist  Blum only has the ability to jump on the big end of level  bosses.
The various enemies on the levels can only be avoided.

The playability is just a little bit on the wrong side of frustrating. It is
rather  easy to keep getting killed in the same place,  and there is usually
only  ever  one route or solution open to the player.  There are some  nasty
surprises, such as the moving platform which make a complete bollocks of the
laws  of physics.  Most other games would have moving platforms which  carry
the  player character along with them.  The platforms here leave the  player
behind, who has to walk to keep up with them! It is fun to realise this, the
first time around!

I would say that it is going to take a really dedicated player to get to the
end of this one.

Technically, Blum  does lose out a bit in comparison with Willies Adventures
although the scrolling is  mostly up to the job, apart from some  hesitation
when moving between screens.

Overall,  I'm  pleased  that this has made it out.  We're still waiting  for
Willies  Adventures,  and  this is a reasonable substitute for that,  and  a
happy ending for one of the many Falcon games stuck in development hell. But
bear  in  mind,  even on the easiest level,  and with infinite lives,  it is
tougher than the average platformer.

You can collect passcodes for completed levels on the way,  but in a classic
self-foot  shooting manouvre,  these are shown in a multi coloured illegible
drug-crazed skinny nightmare of a font!

You  might also like to know that there are some other games living  in  the
Trigon  cellar,  which  should be making their way to daylight shortly!  I'm
sure more reviews will follow when they do.

Another missing game has come home, hooray!
Good graphics
Lovely music
Plenty to see

Pretty tough difficulty, even on the easy mode
Rather 'passive' gameplay
Still slightly rough around the edges

CiH, for Alive Mag,May '05

Alive 10