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Alive 12
Indigo Review
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 :)


 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.


 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...


 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
Alive 12