4th Dimension Platform Games CD
And still they keep coming! Yes, it's another 4th Dimension CD collection, this time it's a collection of platform games, of which there are 11 and they are :
The procedure for installation is exactly the same as all the other 4th Dimension CD collections, except that Wizard Apprentice is not included in the installation program. This is because it is a huge game that needs a lot of disc space, so if you are short on hard disc space it may not fit. So you have the option to either install it onto the hard disc or you can run it directly from the CD-ROM.
This game is a new one on me, I've never seen it before, I think it was one of the later 4th Dimension games that were released. There were quite a few of them which, unfortunately, weren't up to the standards that we'd expected from previous releases.
I'm not really sure what the objective of this game is exactly as there is no background story and the manual doesn't really hint at much either, so it's all a bit of mystery as to what you have to do in this game, the only thing mentioned is a list of artifacts you will need to collect in order to escape.
So from that I'm guessing you have to move around from screen to screen tracking down these items which will help you progress through the level until you find the exit.
So what the game like? The controls are straight forward just left, right and jump, but despite that I found it rather difficult to control the character as he moves around too fast and skates along platforms falling off far too easily and making precision jumps rather difficult. It maybe that it is running too fast on a StrongARM machine and a slow down program might make it better, but to be honest I found no incentive to even want to try.
You guide the character around the screens, avoid things that kill you, collect extra lives, and that is all I really saw of the game, that and I pressed a switch which did something somewhere I suppose, but I found the whole game uninspiring and really didn't have the urge to find out.
The graphics are alright and suit the game. The sounds consist of an uninspiring tune throughout the game and a few in game sounds effects. As you've probably guessed I didn't think much of this game - it's difficult to control, and I have no idea what to do. That may not have helped but considering what other games are available to play this isn't really worth bothering with. I'm certainly glad I didn't part any cash for this originally, I've played better public domain games, a compilation filler at best !
This is possibly the silliest game I've ever played, Originally released by Software 42 and was later acquired by Gamesware/Eclipse (remember them?) so although not a 4th Dimension release it really does deserve to be in this collection of RISC OS platform games.
The background to this game is that the world is under threat from a race of aliens who are in fact an army of balloons who are intent on taking over the world and turning everything evil! It shouldn't be too hard to get rid of a few inflatables, but then who's job is it to get rid of them? The Army? The SAS? No, a clown riding a unicycle! That's the main character of the game who you have to control to save the world from the invading balloons! I suppose clowns and balloons go together but when the world is at stake?
Cycloids was written by Tom Cooper, the man responsible for many quality RISC OS games, of which a few appear on this compilation. The object of the game is to guide your clown on a unicycle to the door at the far end of the level. Along the way you must dispose of as many of the invading balloons as you can whilst picking up a variety of collectable items.
There are two types of doors on the levels; the pink ones which are the level completion doors and the green ones (not the green door that Shakin' Stevens sung about) these doors transport you to later levels so if you want to see the whole game best to avoid these.
Playing the game is easy enough, you move the clown left and right and he can jump upwards and that is it. If you are armed with a weapon then you have a fire button to use. The controls are redefinable using a separate program.
The difficulty level starts at relatively easy and the difficulty level increases as you progress through the levels. I didn't find the game hard to play but some levels took a bit of practice to get through. It's easy to lose a life if you mistime a jump over an enemy or gap, but with a bit of practice there should be no problem.
When playing the game you need to keep a look out for flags. These are markers and when you collect one of them this is the place you will be returned to on the level should you lose a life, so watch out for them.
There are many weird and wonderful things to look out for in the game. Anything that moves is harmful to you and contact with it will lose you a life. These include snails, frogs, elephants and trains.
There are also lots of collectible items, most of which just increase your score, but some of them have special features - the marker flag being one. There are also extra lives, time increases and also shades which don't appear to do anything other than make you look cool - well you couldn't look any worse being a clown on unicycle already! There are also a selection of comedy noses to collect which give you extra powers !
The graphics of Cycloids suit the game really well, as they are cartoony, bright and colourful and look the part. The characters in the game are all well drawn and animated. I can't really think of anything else to say about them except they are really good and help to make the game what it is.
Sound is another area where Cycloids scores highly, there are plenty of tunes and effects which all add to the game. Unfortunately you can't have both so you have to make your choice during loading. Personally I prefer the sound effects. Whichever you choose you will end up at the main title page (shown above) and a tune will play loudly and will probably be too fast. This can be easily sorted - get a copy of !Vsync and with that running the tune will play at it's correct speed.
Into the game itself and the tunes are lively and jolly and in the same style of the title page tune, however it is the sound effects that I really like. A lot of effort has clearly gone into getting good effects for each event. If you collect the milk bottle which gives a score bonus you get a "Milky Milky" voice sample (inspired no doubt from Punt and Dennis's Mr Strange character) lots of car-horn type noises, and other silly and strange noises. My personal favourite is made by this little green dinosaur (shown in the screenshot below) who walks up and down the platform and when he reaches the edge turns and looks at you and makes a noise which sounds like "Meeh" and then walks back the other way!
Overall Cycloids is a great platformer. It is fun to play and very entertaining. The sounds and graphics add to the atmosphere of it all and the difficulty level is just right. Overall an excellent game and one of the best on the compilation. I really ought to try to finish it one day, after all, who knows what other sillyness I could be missing out on ?
Anybody who has owned an Acorn machine of some sort over the years, will have surely come into contact with this legendary game. Frak is one of the games that the BBC was well known for along with the likes of Elite and Repton. This new version brings it right up to date, but how does it compare with that the original?
In the original game the main character was called Trogg, a sort of typical caveman name, but in this version the caveman is called Gnurft which is a rather unusual name. This version of Frak, whilst based on the original, is not a direct conversion, so there are new and different levels included which is good. There is also a screen editor which before only appeared on the Electron version.
The objective is to make your way to then end of the level by moving along platforms, climbing up and down ladders, and jumping the gaps, along the way you must collect all the keys, as you cannot complete a level until all the keys have been collected.
Control of Frak is by the keyboard and the keys are fully redefinable from the main menu.
There is a time limit on each level and when it runs out the light goes and you are in the dark. You therefore need to collect the light bulb to give yourself more time as when it goes dark you obviously cannot see a thing. So make sure you collect those bulbs.
As always is with games there are some nasties and things out there to help hinder your progress. Many of the ledges contain great big monsters that sit there and get in the way - they don't move, just block your path. They will kill you on contact but there is a way past. This is the good bit, you can dispose of these monsters using your yo-yo - no guns or lasers here, a simple flick of the yo-yo and away they go. There are also daggers and balloons and things which float across the screen, they are also deadly, but a bit of yo-yo action will soon get rid of them as well.
You can also lose a life by falling off of the ledges. On the original version when you lost a life, a speech bubble would appear saying "Frak" meaning "Oh .....", I've just lost a life. You can fill in your own word there but I think it's pretty self explanatory what it all means. There are some hacked versions on the internet where the letters of Frak have been changed, and I don't think you need to be a genius to work out what they might be!
For some reason, and rather disappointingly, the Frak speech bubble has been left out of this version, so when you fall of the ledge or lose a life nothing happens until you lose your last life. Then you see a view from above of Gnurft falling to his death, which is a good touch, but the speech bubble should have been included!
Graphically Frak looks good. The style and look of the original has been kept and been updated and improved and it looks a lot better for it. The game characters are well drawn and the scrolling of the screen is very smooth.
As for the sounds effects they are OK, unfortunately there's no updated version of the Frak theme. It would have been really good to hear an updated version of this tune. The music that accompanies this version is alright but a bit bland - it is the same tune which plays on the title page and then carries on into the game. The tune may change on later levels but I didn't get that far. There are also in-game sound effects which are quite basic but functional and do the job.
Frak on RISC OS
Frak on the BBC - Did anyone notice that the ladders and ledges on the first level actually spell out the word Frak? I didn't spot it until now.
Overall this is a good re-creation of Frak and it wasn't intended to be a direct conversion of the original, but for me, the BBC version is preferable. Whilst as a game there's very little wrong with this RISC OS version and it is certainly worth playing as it is a good game, but for a real game of Frak I still prefer the Beeb version.
This is another Tom Cooper production. This game was a public domain release and is of very good quality indeed, better than some of the commercial efforts I've bought and played over the years.
Gyrinus2 (was there a Gyrinus1? I don't remember one) was one of Tom Coopers early games and in some ways looks a bit like an early version of Cycloids, but it is a totally different game. When it was first released it needed to be decompressed onto two 800K floppies before you could play it. I suppose it would have worked on a hard disc, but back in the A3000 days I didn't have the luxury of such things. Anyway this version (V3.5) works fine from the hard disc.
There seems to be a growing trend of games without a background story on this compilation and Gyrinus2 is another with no storyline for the game. However the instructions do tell us what the objective of the game is and it is to collect all the flashing crystals from each level. There are a certain number to collect on each of the levels and when you have collected them you move onto the next level.
Upon loading the game you will see the title page which is shown above, and you will immediately notice a tune playing way too fast. Unfortunately this game is another victim of the 'playing of music too fast on StrongARM machines syndrome'. Luckily, as with the other games, a copy of !VSync will solve your problem, and the tune will then return to the proper speed.
When you start the game there is a choice of doors 'Easy' or 'Fair' and it's up to you which one you choose. Easy is probably the best one to start with, move the character over the door and press the keypad 'Enter' button and you will go through to the level and the game will begin for real.
The main character of Gyrinus2 looks like the stereotypical mad professor, bald head - with a bit of hair at the back, glasses and a white coat. It's your job to guide him round the levels to collect up all the flashing crystals. The ones that do not flash are just bonus points so don't worry too much about them. There are also a number of special blocks scattered about the level which will give you bonus points, weapons and other goodies, so watch out for them, most blocks have a "?" on them, but some do not.
The number of crystals needed to complete a level is indicated at the top by a crystal symbol. The more you collect the more it fills in and when it is full the level is complete. Next to the crystal symbol is the number of lives left and the time remaining. These start off full and when they become empty you lose of a life.
The crystals are scattered all over the place and there are levels within the levels containing more crystals to be collected. You move between levels by simply pressing the keypad Enter button.
Gyrinus2 is easy enough to play but it can get difficult in places, especially when there's loads of nasties about and it can be annoying to get a precision timed jump, only to miss and fall to the bottom of the screen.
Controlling the character is easy enough just left, right and jump. You can also fire a weapon if you have picked one up. There are a number of weapons including bombs, guns, tomatoes, and custard pies. You need to get a weapon to dispose of the various nasties, which get in the way and block your path. A quick hint - there is a bomb to collect quite near the start of the first easy level.
The graphics are very typical of a Tom Cooper game, cartoon style,bright and colourful with some really good touches. For example when the character jumps up his glasses will stay above his head for a short while before landing back down!
The sounds are just as good - each level plays a different tune of which are typical of the early 1990s public domain demo era, some are good and some are not as good. I quite liked the tune played in the underwater level as it seemed to fit it really well, there are also plenty of noises and sampled effects which all add to the atmosphere of the game.
Overall this is an excellent game, it is hard to believe it was a public domain game. At the very least it should have been Shareware as it is of such good quality and puts some of the commercial offerings that I have had the misfortune to waste money on to shame.
This is another Tom Cooper production, which was originally only available as part of a compilation, which was called "Aries" and was the first in a planned series of compilations based on signs from the Zodiac. Unfortunately no other releases followed - so Aries became a one off release rather than part of a series!
So here we have the re-release of Hamsters, again only available on a compilation! But don't let that put you off because it is definitely not a filler game.
The background story to this game is that our hero has been exiled from his home planet, and told he cannot return until he has conquered another planet. Eventually after years of wandering through space, he landed on a strange planet. Armed with his laser gun he set forth to blast everything that stood in his path, unfortunately he had forgotten how to charge it and now must use basic methods instead, such as a dirty great big hammer!
The object of the game is to guide the hero through all the levels disposing of all the cute and furry animals (so says the manual). When they have all been squished the level is complete and you move onto the next one. There are various different types of animals, including birds, cats, tortoises, rabbits and other flying insects, to name but a few.
Controlling the game is straightforward enough, just Left, Right, Jump and use Hammer. There is a a technique to using the hammer, the longer you hold down the return button the more powerful the strike will be. This strike will not only squish animals but make your character bounce around the screen. This is used to jump up the platforms, but it can become a bit annoying when you are trying to get up onto a certain ledge and just keep bouncing around everywhere!
On later levels there are trampolines which make you bounce around the screen and help you get to those higher platforms that a hammer strike can't quite reach.
The Hammer is not used for just squishing animals. By hitting certain blocks and signs you can obtain extra points and other useful bonuses. The game is against the clock so when the time limit runs out you will lose a life. So far in the game I haven't seen anything that anything kills you so your only enemy seems to be the time limit, however that may change on later levels.
You can configure a number of options which will determine how the game will look. These include entering a password to skip earlier levels, scenery detail level, sound options, blood splat levels, and finally Wibble - this determines how much the screen will shake from a hammer blow.
The graphics of Hamsters are very typical of a game by Tom Cooper, bright, colourful and in the cartoon style and they suit the game very well. With the sounds in the game it is the same as with Cycloids, you have to choose between music only or sound effects only, if you choose music you get a a selection of jolly in-game tunes which change throughout the game, and there is also a decent title page tune. If you choose sounds only then you get a get a selection of strange noises, including a splat noise when you squish an animal. You will also hear the cats meow, and I'm sure I remember others making noises too but I haven't heard anything just yet.
Overall I think Hamsters is a pretty decent game. However there is the obvious issue of squishing innocent little animals with a dirty great big hammer! Maybe this was the reason it has been kept hidden away on compilations? If you ignore that and just play the game for what it is, then you'll find it is quite an entertaining (if not a bit frustrating at times) platform game, and is certainly worth playing. Perhaps you could pretend the animals are in fact hate figures from every day life and vent your anger and frustration at them that way instead! Apologies for the small screen shots but that's the best I could get.
Joop was originally released by Gek programs, and you certainly can tell it is one of their games. You control Joop, a simple human being, who one day receives a strange mysterious package. Upon opening it he gets sucked into a strange world where a giant pig rules all living beings.
It is your job to save Joop from this world of weirdness which is full of ladders, levels and strange creatures. The saving of Joop is done by collecting up all the items on each of the levels and then finally destroying the pig, and ultimately you can go home. There are 5 different scenarios, each of these have 5 levels in them, so plenty of levels to get through before the game is complete.
Playing Joop is nice and easy, just guide him left, right up, down and jump to gather up all the collectibles on the level. You will know when you have collected them all as the level will automatically end. The levels are many times the size of the playing screen and will scroll along when you reach the edge to reveal the next part. In short Joop is your traditional platform and ladders game with added conveyors and platforms with different features, and also the monsters which will kill you.
There are many different types of objects to collect on the levels. In addition to the standard collectibles there a many different objects which will do different things. For example, there is a mushroom which will make you invisible, ice cream (I think that's what it is) will give you extra health and a boot will let you jump on certain enemies to get rid of them.
There are also many different platforms which have special features. These include spikes, crushers, and electric platforms, these are all hazardous to Joop, so avoid them. For a complete listing of all the special platforms and objects check the manual which lists them all and also shows a picture of what they all look like. Also watch out for various nasties which occupy the levels, they will kill you if you come into contact with them. If you do lose a life you are temporarily invincible when you start the game again so make use of this feature to get a bit further without losing another life.
The graphics of Joop are very typical of the style of Gek, and suit the game well. There are some nice touches, one of which is that if you leave Joop alone he will go to sleep. As for the sounds, there are tunes playing throughout the game which are quite lively and there are plenty of noises for when you collect items, lose a life and jump from platforms.
Overall Joop is not the most amazing game in the world, but it is a decent enough platform. It is quite a simple game and doesn't require much thought really, but I quite liked it and it is definitely worth checking out.
No not that Morph, nothing to do with Tony Hart's plasticine sidekick, this is a different Morph, although he does change shape, but there all similarity ends!
Morph is an arcade adventure with 15 levels. In order to complete a level you will have to solve a number of puzzles, and the ultimate objective is to find the magical gem. Once you have found it, you need to pick it up and use it, then you will be transported to the next level.
On your way to obtaining the magical gem you will encounter all manner of obstacles which will try to prevent you from reaching your objective. Throughout the levels you will discover different objects which will be needed to solve the puzzles which will in turn allow you to progress further into the levels.
Puzzles can be anything from opening a door with the right key or having to find a specific object to carry out a specific task. For example (not necessarily in the game but it might be) you collect a bucket of water to put out a fire! How obvious the puzzle solving is I don't know, but it can't be any worse than on the BBC Micro game Omega Orb where you needed some duty free to open a door - how you were supposed to know that I don't know - but it was a great game never the less.
There are also pickup objects which include food, weapons and other items to help you through the quest. You can only carry a certain number of items at one time. These are stored in your pockets and as space is limited make sure you have the right ones when you wander halfway across the level only to find you've got the wrong key with you. It does happen, I know! You can only pick up items when you are the main character (or hero as the manual calls him). When you have morphed into a different creature you cannot pick up items.
The morphing of the main character is obviously where the name of the game comes from. You can only change into other creatures that you have collected the morph for. Morphs are scattered about the levels so watch out for them as by turning into those creatures you then gain certain special abilities. For example if you morph into a cat then you can jump much further than when you are the normal character. There are eight different characters in total.
Watch out for the monsters in the game who will try to kill you. There are many different types, each with different behavioural patterns. They can be disposed of quite easily, but be careful as according to the manual some of them will help you in your quest. The game also uses passwords, so you can skip early completed levels - always a welcome feature.
There are a lot of keys needed in this game. They are not all needed at once but it would probably be useful to have a printed copy of the manual in front of you to see what does what. In addition to the usual left, right, up, down and jump there is also the firing of weapons, door opening, lever pulling and also picking up/dropping items.
Graphically Morph isn't that bad, the levels are quite detailed, with lots of different backdrops and blocks to keep it varied. The main character looks a bit strange and when he moves it doesn't look right, not quite sure why, but it looks odd. As for sounds, there is an in game tune which isn't particularly brilliant. I think it is a reworking of a well known tune but I can't remember what it is called. There are also sound effects for when things happen during the game such as jumping and losing energy.
Overall Morph isn't a bad game, but I can't say that I was that impressed with it. I played it a few times and it didn't really inspire me to want to come back and try again or keep playing it. But if you like arcade adventures and puzzle solving them you may well like this game. I've always liked arcade adventures but just didn't really click with this one.
This game is only included in the second release of this CD collection, if you have the first release and want this game then contact APDL for a copy of it. Mr Pea is a public domain game and can be regarded as a freebie really.
Mr Pea is a very simple and basic game and therefore is ideal for children to play, as the simplicity of it should enable them to get far into the game. The object of the game is that of a typical platformer in the style of of Manic Miner - collect all the items and then head for the exit to progress to the next level.
There are 20 levels to complete and unusually in a game like this you only get one life, so lose it and it is game over. However there is a password system available so you can jump the previously completed levels, which always a good thing, as it does get quite tedious having to trawl through the earlier levels when all you want to do is get back to the place you lost your last life.
Graphically Mr Pea is nothing special and quite basic, but then it is probably supposed to be like that and it suits the game. The sounds are quite standard as well with a typical public domain demo style tune playing in the background. Apart from that tune there do not appear to be any other sounds in the game.
There is not really much else you can say about this game, it is a basic and simple, ideal for children to play, not really one for the serious gamer! Fun to play but don't expect too much from it!
Are snails super? Not really, but the one in this game is, although it doesn't actually say why, maybe it is because the snail you control zooms about instead of the more traditional snail's pace. As with a few of the other games on the collection there is no background story to this game, but we do have a game objective which is the main thing. The objective of the game is to collect all 5 spheres within a level to complete it and then you can move onto the next level.
Before you start a game you have to decide with type of game you are going to play. You have three options, these are 1 Player game, 2 Player team game or 2 Player head-to-head game. The differences being that in a 1 player you have to collect 5 spheres on your own, a 2 player team game involves 2 players working together to collect the spheres, and with the 2 player head-to-head game the object is to score more points than the other player. The game ends when all 5 spheres have been collected by either player and the one with the highest score wins. For the purposes of this review we will go with the 1 player game.
Collecting the 5 spheres involves a lot of moving around the levels as parts of them are initially inaccessible. To get into these areas you need to collect keys to open doors, using trampolines to bounce up to higher areas. There are also switches, which when pushed, will remove a panel to allow you through. There are also hidden areas - some of the walls are not as solid as they look!
There are also plenty of hazards around the level to watch out for, some help you, for example collecting hearts gives extra lives. The '?' boxes will reveal a hidden item when you hit one. The nasty hazards include arrows which are fired at you from certain devices which are embedded in the walls and also spikes and lava pits which will make you lose a life.
There is also the updraft. These are large areas of white dots - if you enter one of these they will automatically move you along them until you reach the end, or move yourself out of it. These are just a few of the hazards you will encounter in the game.
Playing Supersnail is very easy indeed, just left, right and jump are needed to control the snail, and these controls can be redefined if you want to. During the game you should try to collect as many of the coins as you can, each time you obtain 100 coins, a crystal will be filled in (these are situated at the top of the screen) if you finish the level with all the crystals then you get to a play a bonus game called "Bansai Hedgehog" in which you have to kill all the moles by landing on them with your spikes. If you succeed you are awarded a power crystal, the manual says try to collect all the power crystals for a surprise, whatever that is I don't know.
The graphics of Supersnail are nothing particularly special, they are quite basic really, but they seem to suit the game quite well. The snail is large and well drawn and the hazards throughout the game look like what they are supposed to be. As for the sounds there is a lively title page tune and and then a different in game tune which sounds like it is from one of the old public domain graphics demos, not the greatest tune ever but it is OK. There are also in-game effects for collecting items and losing lives!
Overall Supersnail is an alright game, it is nothing amazing, but it's not a bad game either. I suppose it's somewhere in the middle, certainly worth giving it a try to see what it's like, the manual also mentions some extra levels being released in January 1999 but I don't remember them ever been released, did this ever happen?
This game was originally released for the Commodore Amiga and the Atari ST by UbiSoft. The RISC OS conversion came courtesy of Cygnus Software, and they did a very good of it. Twinworld was and still is an excellent platform, where Cycloids was if you like a silly platformer then this is a serious one!
There is plenty of background story for this game, two pages of it in the original manual, but the edited highlights of it are that there is a race of peaceful people called the Gaspards, who have lived for centuries under the rule of an old family endowed with magic powers - the Cariken.
The family were in the possession of a symbol of power, an amulet which became the target of an evil druid by the name of Maldur. Aided by monsters he had created they massacred the Cariken and no one managed to escape or make use of the amulet to rid this evil druid. The legend is that if one of the family survived and got hold of the amulet then they could rid the land of the terrible Maldur.
In order to prevent this the druid has tried to destroy the amulet but has shattered it into a number of pieces which are now scattered all around the land. He has sent his monsters to gather up all the pieces before someone else does, that someone is Ulopa, the son of the last king of the Cariken, who is the main character of the game.
The object of the game is to defeat the evil druid Maldar, and collect all the pieces of the amulet in order to banish him from the kingdom forever. The levels of the game are divided into lower and higher worlds - hence the name Twinworld, these are accessed by doors and openings throughout the levels, these other worlds need to be visited to collect keys, power-ups and short cuts to other parts of the levels.
Each level has a piece of the amulet on it and once you have collected it you then need to go through the exit door, and onto the next level, of which there are four levels in each zone and upon completion of the final zone you then access a bonus area, after which the game resumes with the same objectives but in a different zone.
Twinworld is not the easiest platfomer I've ever played, but it's not particularly difficult either. It took me a few goes to complete the first level, but I didn't get much further than about the third level of the first zone, so will certainly take a while to complete the whole game. The game is controlled from the keyboard with the usual left/right up/down and fire key combinations - the down key is also used to enter the doors through the levels.
There are plenty of monsters which you will encounter throughout the levels, most of them can easily be despatched by firing weaponry at them. However beware as firepower is limited, but there are plenty of top-ups around. When you dispose of a monster there will be a bonus left behind to pick up of which there are many types. Each monster has it's own name. Interestingly the three headed creature that you will encounter is called "The Bothria" presumably because it constantly bothers you?
Another character to watch out for is "The Merchant". You can buy items from this character, but first you will need to be in possesion of a flute. This is needed to summon the Merchant. You can only buy items that you have already found in the game and you can only use the flute once, so don't waste it. To visit the Merchant again you will need to find another flute. Make sure you pick up the stars along the way as they increase your score and therefore increases the amount of money available to buy things from the merchant.
Visually Twinworld looks good, the graphics are quite typical of the 16 bit platformers of this era and the RISC OS port looks every bit as good as the original version does and doesn't look dated at all. The levels are all well drawn and each zone has different landscape graphics to add variation to the game.
As with the graphics the audio of Twinworld is of good quality as well, a decent tune accompanies throughout the game, with suits it well, if it becomes annoying it can be switched off, and there are plenty of in-game sound effects as well.
Overall Twinworld is an excellent game, as platform games go this is definitely one of the best ones to have been converted over to RISC OS machines over the years, well worth playing.
Last, but not by any means least, comes Wizard Apprentice. This was one of the last big commercial games released for RISC OS. However the release was a bit low key really - maybe it was because it was released by a Public Domain library rather than a well known software company. The story behind the game is that you are are the apprentice of some wizard and this is your final task to prove yourself worthy of becoming a fully qualified wizard.
Wizard Apprentice was written by Fantasia Software and released to the masses by 'The Datafile' public domain library. You needed a Risc PC with VRAM to play it, the original version would only run from CD, but this new updated version lets you install it on your hard disc - which is preferable - but you will need a lot of space to do this or you can run it direct from the CD.
Before running the game you need to setup two things, as without them the game will not run. Firstly you need to run the !Install program in the Wizard Apprentice directory. This installs files into the !System folder which is used to store game information. You will also need to add one of the supplied MDF files AKF60 or AKF85 to your monitor definition file, otherwise your monitor will not be able to display the modes used in Wizard Apprentice.
With both of these things in place you can now play the game. On loading you will see the introductory screen which has a rather silly tune played by a funny looking group of musicians. After this the main screen will appear, there are a number of options on here, from game settings, level select, sound options and you can also visit the level editor and make your own levels if you manage to complete all the supplied ones.
By selecting "Round Select", the option right in the middle on the screen, you will be taken to the level selection screen. There a number of different zones, each have a number of levels within them. To start with only the first one is accessible. So you have to start there and work through the levels to unlock all the other ones. By selecting a zone you will then see a screen with all the level numbers. If a number has a green tick on them then that zone has been completed. You can choose any of the levels to play but to complete the whole zone all levels need to be completed.
So, click on your level of choice, and finally we get to the game. The level will be shown and you can have a look at the layout and see if you can work out the obvious route through. Press Space to start and away we go. The first couple of levels are really easy to complete but the difficulty level does go up as you progress through the game. I would imagine some of the later levels are very difficult indeed to complete.
So what do you have to do to complete a level? Well you have to collect all of the objects, which can be flowers or mushrooms (there may be other types on later levels) and once this is done the level is complete. Objects can only be collected from the left or right, so you need to work out a route to obtain them all.
Working out a route is the key to this game. This is not an arcade action game, but a game of strategic thought and logic. You have to work out the correct route around the level. This is done by going up and down the ladders, moving blocks left and right, these blocks can fill in gaps to allow access to elsewhere on the level or just move them out of the way.
Some blocks can be destroyed to get them out of the way but care when doing this as you can easily mess up a level by destroying it at the wrong time, a lot of trial and error is involved in this game to find the correct way through the level.
There is also a special character who will appear on certain levels which cannot be finished without the aid of the little furry ball! When he is needed he will appear.
You do not die in this game. If you mess up a level you can abort it and start again, and you will find you will probably do this quite a lot. Some levels seem impossible to start with but with a bit of practice the correct route will be found.
Playing Wizard Apprentice is straightforward enough. Control is via the keyboard and your wizard can move left, right up and down. There is no jump or any weapon firing. The other keys used are 'G' to access the in game menu, and also the Space Bar is used to change to the second character if he is available.
Graphically Wizard Apprentice is excellent. It is bright and colourful and there is a lot of attention to detail with the levels. The backgrounds look really good, and these change at points during the game to keep it fresh. The wizard is well drawn and animated and the game objects all look like what they are supposed to be.
The sounds include many different tunes. I particularly like the tune used on the first couple of levels, up tempo and rather jolly - sounds really good loud too. There are a few sound effects as well.
Overall this is an excellent game, which I think was quite overlooked on it's original release. If you missed it before it is well worth checking out now. It has excellent sound and graphics and a good learning curve. If you like a game which requires a bit thought and logic then this is definitely one to go for. It can be frustrating but there is a real sense of achievement when you finally figure out how to do a level and complete it.
So there we have it, that was the 4D Platform game collection. All of the games should work without any problems on any RISC OS machines with StrongARM and RISC OS 4/Select, as they have all been updated to run on newer hardware. If you do have any problems with any of the games, then contact APDL and they will be able to help. As for Iyonix compatibility, none of them work natively on the Iyonix, apart from Twinworld if you use the patch it will then work fine, but with Aemulor Pro running these were the results.
Bloodlust - didn't work at all error message.
Cycloids - gave an error message and crashed after the title page.
Frak - displayed title banner and then crashed with error message.
Gyrinus II - No problems, music a bit fast, but apart from that fine.
Hamsters - Sort of works, the game seems to be running, but my LCD monitor wouldn't display the actual game screen, as it hasn't got the correct definition but the game was running so maybe with the correct MDF it should be OK. I think it uses a strange mode or something which is why I had difficulty getting some decent screenshots.
Joop - Displayed the title page, thought it was going to work, but then it dropped back into the desktop.
Morph - gave an error message and didn't work.
Mr Pea- Works fine with Aemulor Pro.
Super Snail - Got a blank screen and nothing else happened - could be incompatible with my monitor or lack of correct MDF.
Twin World - this runs fine on the Iyonix with a patch so no need for Aemulor Pro for this one.
Wizard Apprentice - Amazingly this does actually work using AemulorPro - it all works fine apart from one problem and that the bottom row of the screen cannot be seen properly I'm not sure why this is it, could be that the LCD screen cannot display the game modes correctly, so on a normal normal it maybe fine, but the game does work.
So not a very good result there, only 4 of the games seem to work on the Iyonix, pity that as there is some decent games on this collection.
This is a very good collection of platform games, Cycloids, Twinworld and Wizard Apprentice are the standout highlights. If you've not played them before then now is the time to do so. As for the games, Frak, Super Snail & Hamsters, Gyrinus2 are all very good as well, as for the Joop, Mr Pea are OK, and I didn't rate Morph or Bloodlust but as they are on the CD you might as well give them a go and try them yourself.
Overall If you like playing platform games then this collection is a must have. Out of the 11 games, I would say that 7 of them are quality games, and the others can be regarded as fillers, definitely a compilation that is worth buying.