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
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!
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