Back in July, APDL announced that they had acquired The 4th Dimension from CJE Micros. This first release sees a relaunch of both Nevryon and Technodream (AKA Nevryon 2) from Superior Software together on the same CD.
So what's new in these versions? Well not a lot, but they are both fully hard disc compliant and the manuals are now in HTML format, plus they now work with RISC OS 4 and Select and StrongARM machines without any problems, although they don't work on the Iyonix natively, but more about that later on.
To install the game it couldn't be easier. Put the CD in the drive, double click and the filer window will appear. Simply double click the !Install program and the following panel will appear.
Select which of the games you want to install (both by default) then drag the Nevryon ship icon to the required destination. This will now appear in the 'Install to' panel, click 'OK' and within a couple of minutes you will have the game(s) installed on the hard disc and are ready to play.
Nevryon first appeared back on our screens in the early 1990s. 14 years later it is still a good quality entertaining sideways scrolling shoot-em-up. You take control of a spacecraft and must make your way to the end where you will encounter the end of level boss who must be destroyed in order to make it to the next level.
After the title page you can visit the options screen. From here you can redefine the keys, set sound levels, game difficulty and which level you want to start on, (later levels will need a password). After the options screen its onto the game.
Your ship starts off basic, but as you destroy enemy ships and parts of the landscape various power-ups will start to appear which include faster laser, extra guns, land mine layers, and little droid things that you can fire off in front of you to help clear a pathway through all the chaos.
Although Nevryon is almost 15 years old it doesn't look particularly dated and the graphics still look good now, with lots of colourful explosions and a wide variety of aliens intent on destroying you coming at you from all angles. On the audio side of things I always thought the music for Nevryon was very good, however for some reason it runs way too fast now, however by running the freeware program !VSync the problem is solved.
I've played Nevryon many times over the years both on RISC OS and the BBC Micro version as well, and would recommend it anyone who likes a good shoot-em-up. It gets a bit frustrating at times, especially when your ship is fully tooled up with all the extras and then you die and lose them all and also have to start the level again. This can be very annoying, but it's addictive and good fun. I can't remember if I ever completed it or not, maybe I will have another go at it.
Technodream was originally going to be published by the 4th Dimension as "Nevryon 2 : Technodream" and was properly advertised back in the days when the full colour 16 page 4D catalogue used to appear in all the Acorn magazines. However for some reason, 4D decided to cancel it, but a few years later it finally got released by Superior Software as just Technodream.
Technodream is essentially more of the same; sideways scrolling, shoot everything in sight and then destroy the end of level boss to move to the next level, but it's different enough to be a new game. There are some new features, one of which I particularly like and that is that when you die you don't have to start right back at the start of the level, you carry on from where you died, although you still lose your power ups and get a couple of seconds of invincibility.
Another new feature of Technodream is the two player option. This is a proper two player mode where you are both in the game together. Rather than sit and wait your turn, you can play as a team or play against each other.
As with Nevryon you can visit the options screen before the game should you wish to and redefine the controls, turn animation sequences off or on, select level and zone. As with Nevryon passwords are needed. When you've finished the options you choose your player and then onto the game itself.
I found Technodream to be a lot easier play than Nevryon, and I'm pretty sure I managed to complete the game when I first bought it, but can't remember what happens. The first level is very easy to complete and shouldn't take more than a couple of goes to finish. I also found the graphics, while still good, don't seem to be as bright and colourful as Nevryon. The same with the music, while it is still ok, doesn't seem to be of the same quality. Technodream is a good game and worth playing, but its not quite as good as Nevryon.
Nevryon and Technodream will run on RISC OS 4, RISC OS Select and, I assume, RISC OS 3 machines without problems. However, unfortunately they won't run on the Iyonix, but that doesn't mean us Iyonix owners have to miss out. Nevryon will run perfectly well with Aemulor Pro (www.aemulor.com) and also !A310emu (http://home-1.tiscali.nl/~jandboer) although the music still runs fast the program !VSync soon solves that problem. However the same cannot be said about Technodream; it won't run, althought it displays the titles and plays the music without a problem, the program gets stuck and doesn't work, but this may be rectified in the future.
Summing up then, if you don't own these games and enjoy a good shoot-em-up then I recommend that you buy this. For the price of £6.90 for both games, it is an absolute bargain considering they would have cost nearly £50 originally. Even if you have the original stand alone releases it's still worthwhile as they are now properly compatible with most of the newer machines.
Overall two very good sideways scrolling shoot-em-ups for just over a fiver can't be wrong, what have you got to lose ?