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Alive 8

    Oki Roger isn't really an avenger but the name sounds soooo old fashion in
French that it couldn't be worse adding a subtitle :) Anyway, unlike its name,
this is a game that doesn't play nor seem ridiculous at all but let's rewind a

    Once upon a time (or better said 10  years ago :) there were many games on
the ST. While Genesis and NES had a mascot, respectively being Sonic and Mario
computer games hardly managed to impose a single hero. Sure we had Turrican or
rick Dangerous, to name a few, but no real hero we could find again in another
episode (god bless game producers for releasing  Tomb Raider years later ! :).
At some point, famous UK company GREMLIN gave it a try with ZOOL. Zool was erm
a wicked combination born from an orgy between ants and aliens or something :p
The game played fast, at  least on  Amiga, and was even  ported to STe while a
Falcon based version was in the pipeline too if I remember well. Of course the
Falcon game never saw the light of day...

    As for the STe it wasn't so bad and played with a smooth scrolling... until
you met ennemies (I can tell you for  sure since I have played it  again before
writing this  review). Anyway let's try not  to get too distracted here ! ROGER
clearly is inspired by ZOOL and was  originally released as a shareware back in
1994 (tho I confess I never heard of it before).

    Now, that is 10 years later, its creator TOBE  decided to make it freeware
and so the  news  was spread  on some French  Atari  forum. Thanks are sent to
Cooper for giving me a tip here :) Btw you can find the game in DBUG #180 that
was released some  weeks ago. A harddrive  friendly version would be cool, and
not one given away as an MSA please :)

The story so far

    Since all instructions are written in French, here's a  little summary :
Roger is intensively in love with Georgette (same name as my Gran'ma to give
you an idea of the sexiness of the name :) but he  needs money to get to her
heart (evil women ! :). Now why he  goes jumping on  bubbles and how he gets
money from the blue tokens he collects, that I didn't get :p

    But as the author underlines, it's a video game, so what the hell are you
doing here, looking for some plot ??? All you need is a 1Mb STe and a working
joystick. Fortunately mine still works so let's go !

    You should keep in mind  that the  game was coded in GFA Basic ! Hey don't
run away, indeed it's  smoother than a lot of  other games. It comes with five
worlds (bathroom, library and  the common  playgrounds), each  of them divided
into 5 levels. I didn't find any password nor save option so that I'm suddenly
wondering who will be crazy enough to play the game straight from A to Z...

    Anyway, once  the  not-so-bad  title screen  displayed, you  quickly  press
'space' to enter the game  as no  menu nor  options are  offered  either :( And
there you go (snapshot needed :) your character being reduced to a kind of pill
with arms and legs  that strongly reminds of long  time forgotten  SPOT  mascot
from a famous drink brand I cannot remember either.

    Your goal is quite  clear : within limited  time, you  have to  collect 100
tokens naturally scattered over a non linear level, meaning that you'll need to
jump higher and higher to find all of them. And that's where the good idea pops
in ! As soon as your pillboy collides with a  bubble, he is instantly lifted to
higher platforms. Of course  you are  encouraged to avoid  the many spikes that
will cost you some life :)

    Our hero is nicely animated and  runs like hell ! So far I've only reached
level 3 and it still looks a bit empty with mostly a green textured background
and few elements, namely  platforms, bubbles and  spikes as well as some extra
time or life  powerups. The game comes  with nice fx being  samples of blowing
bubbles and so on while the ingame music is a very known tune I cannot name :)
Enough to bring a more than decent atmosphere anyway.

    Soon enough you find  yourself running, jumping and trying  to get all the
damn tokens  and it proves fun  enough for  some time (saved  game missing :(.
Above all the game is really smooth thanks to  tortured GFA routs according to
Cooper who got them and declared it was the work of a madman :) Small but nice
transitions are used when starting or  ending a level giving  very little wait
before you start another level/game.

    The game shows very  few flaws indeed : oki  gfx  aren't top  and surely if
someone like Exocet has  painted it, then it would look a lot better, still the
game's looks good enough to me. What I don't understand is the lack of password
or maybe I missed it ? Starting  from scratch  every time will  surely kill all
interest in  the end :( Having  to boot  from  floppy isn't  a real problem tho
since loadings are fast enough, in  other words only the password things lowers
the whole thing. But there's no doubt  it's a good game  with a nice idea and a
smooth animation and cool sampled fx !

Last words

Not a sky rocket  but surely a pretty surprise that  will keep Atari gamers 
busy until Reservoir Gods gets  us addicted to  Faery Lands ! The unexplainable 
absence of passwords  will turn busy people away  from the game though. Who has 
enough time these days to play it for hours ? Not me sorry and I'd rather spend 
two minutes trying to beat some  records at Fzero GX  on my Gamecube :) Still I 
suggest you give the game a try, it's overall quality will amaze you !

Alive 8