Games that should have been released
but somehow never made it...
Today's contender, namely INDIGO, belongs to this category. As we're explained
in the readme file this game was started in 1991 and supposed to be out in
1993 and published by famous company PSYGNOSIS. To be honest they were mostly
famous for bringing high quality games on Amiga and brainless poor convertions
on the ST, I think that "Shadow of the Beast" was among the worst examples. So
what could we expect from this "new" game especially since it was never
released ? More about this further :)
You first need to download the game from DHS or the official website of
Stephane, whose url I have not remembered. It's advised to unzip the file on
peecee since it features long filenames that our antique system won't like a
lot. Then you get a damn .ST image, grr. Good for emulators fans but for the
rest of us you will need a 801Kb formatted floppy to transfer to the ST (or
simply zip the .ST file but the right way this time :). Okay we are almost
there since you still need to turn the ST file into a bootable floppy. A bit
sad there's no harddrive support here but maybe Grazey can think about it
later on :)
THE PLOT :
As with most of the games released on the ST over the last two decades, the
storyline is a bit nonsense : you're being the big guy called JACK and we're
told that he likes drawing adventures books about a character called INDIGO.
So what ? Erm not much, Indigo seems to be trapped somehow and you need to
rescue him... Impressive plot, isn't it ? :) Oh btw to rescue him you'll have
to collect keys from ennemis or bonuses. Do I need to say it again or maybe
you could read these lines again ? Nevermind, the plot is nothing but an
excuse to play the game.
GET STARTED :
I turn off my harddrive (sob) and reboot. Soon enough a colorful and stylish
cover pic pops up, the one to b not too oldschoolish like too many infamous
tunes from commercial games. Sfx are sparse and only made of blips and blops
but that doesn't matter much.
NB : when thinking of other PSYGNOSIS games like LEANDER for instance, I start
to understand why this game was mysteriously cancelled : while LEANDER had a
totally black background and an unstable framerate, INDIGO doesn't and surely
PSYGNOSIS didn't want to publish a more than decent game on the ST ! :)
Getting used to my old navigator joystick was no piece of cake since I had not
played ST games for ages ! It feels a bit cranky, rusty and I am crying for my
Dreamcast or Gamecube analog pads :) Anyway after a while I'm getting into it.
Your character moves a bit too slowly imho while ennemies go faster... You can
jump on some of them, like the dog robots, and press 'fire' to stun them and
another time to blow them away. Other ennemies like the tank looking ones
cannot be destroyed tho. Here and there killed ennemies will deliver goodies,
most of the time bonus points but also 'flash' that can kill everything on
screen. Sometimes they also give you one of these keys you need to complete a
level. And here is the main drawback of the game concept : if you don't use
the flash bonus on the right ennemies, then you are stuck ! For instance, if a
tank ennemy holds a key and you cannot kill it, there's NO WAY you can
complete the level !
In other words, the game lasting appeal suddenly drops :( On the first level I
learnt what ennemies hold those damn missing keys and * preciously * kept my
destructive item to get them. On the second level tho, I'm missing 2 keys and
there's nothing I can do about it !! There's no spare bonus and I'm just
walking thru that damn level again and again with no hope of completion...
LAST WORDS :
Technically speaking this 'lost' game was WAY above the average ! Gfx are very
nice looking and colorful too thanks to rastered backgrounds. The scroller is
also smooth. Remember how many ST games came with such a jerky scroll that it
killed your eyes and brain ! As for sound, once again it's a nice surprise
with a cool tune and decent sfx. But...
Playing a level again and again until you find the right ennemis to kill to
get the required amount of keys tends to get frustrating VERY FAST. Now that
I've completed the first level, I am stuck like an idiot in the very colorful
Circus world... I've killed almost all ennemies, there are platforms I cannot
reach, invicible ennemies I cannot avoid... Then what ? Get killed and restart
the whole game ? Damn, that's SO silly that it instantly reminds me that a lot
of ST games used to be pretty unfair...
Still this game is worth downloading and trying since it shows that more than
a decade ago there were people who could bring high quality games ! Too bad
this one wasn't polished (gameplay-wise) nor released...
STS for Alive, 2005-12-21