You can't keep a good ball down. Fresh from her triumphantly Megagamed debut on the Speccy, Astroball has rolled onto the Coupe. The question on everyone's lips is, can she repeat her earlier success? Or will she fail miserably, a-tumbling by the roadside in pathetic sobbing distress, or what? Well strangely enough, that very question will be answered in the attractively-spaced clumps of words that follow. Spook, eh?
You all remember the plot to Astroball. Oh come on - you must do. It's about a ball who has to bounce around some floating clouds, grabbing coins while avoiding sharply-edged diamond stars. And that's it. There's some background wibble but it all boils down to springing around with skill and gay abandon. "Yes, yes!" I hear you cry. "That's as maybe, but what's it actually like?" Of course, I can't really hear you say that. It's just me being a bit clever and attempting to involve you more in the whole reviewing experience. Ho hum.
Seventh heaven, cloud nine
If you cast your critical eye back to issue 78, you'll find our noble reviewer (um, me actually) wittering on at length about "sweaty-palmed action," and "gameplay so addictive it's unhealthy," concluding that "the whole thing's been put together with loving care and a spot-on attention to detail," before tripping into the sunset with the remark, "It's ripping stuff."
Right-ho, that's today's lesson in self-plagiarism. What I'm trying to say, in my coy and roundabout fashion, is that Speccy Astroball was a corker - and the SAM conversion is just the same. It's addictive. By Jingo, is it addictlye. By jiggling the ol' joystick you exert a wobblingly large amount of control over Astroball - basically, once she's in the air, you can move her about all over the place until gravity gets the idea and decides to spoil the fun. So, with a bit of practice, you can send the ball into a lazy arc that picks up a couple of coins before twiddling the joystick minutely to drop her safely onto a platform. Or maybe not. Y'see, you can only see a part of the playing area at one time - the vertical scrolling quite successfully hides the important bits until you stumble with loud screams upon 'em. I love it. I really do.
Graphics are slightly better than the Speccy's, with dashes of colour and, um, some more dashes of colour. Sound is... different - there's a fairly horrible title tune, but some smashing clangy effects, and a really brilliant scream when Astroball drops stomach-wrenchingty through empty space. It all goes to create a splendidly spooky atmosphere. Sadly, the mini-Galaxians when you complete a level has been lost. Actually, the whole thing seems dramatically harder this time around - things get spectacularly tough from Level Two onwards. Tsk.
Okay, so that's a base score of ninety, with a couple of extra marks for the sound... minus a few for losing Galaxians... multiply that by two... take away the number you first thought of - well, blimey. It's a Megagame all over again. Hurrah!
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