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Psygnosis, Amiga 34.99 (with T-shirt)

obitus Obitus is a strange mixture of RPG-type play and downright, sideways scrolling arcade action. You might imagine such a combination to result in a weird game and you'd be right. As, mild-mannered Wil Mason you find yourself in Middlemere. You must explore the four shires of the place, chat to people, kill a few others, collect and use items but, most of all, find out where the hell you are and how you can get out!

The RPG section gives you a first-person viewpoint in the Dungeon Master vein. I say Dungeon Master because there are many similarities. For example, you can directly manipulate objects in the gameworld (such as picking up an apple or a gold coin). Then there is the combat. Again, you click on the target and the bow/dagger/etc is hurled towards your foe. You see it sail off into the distance until it hits or misses. One difference to DM, though, is Obitus's superb scrolling. It is smoooooth, no doubting about it, you just glide from location to location. Actually, this became a drawback while walking around a forest area because you cannot turn around until you reach the centre of a location. The trouble was that I could not, on occasion, centre myself properly and so promptly flew into a fit of rage. Sigh.

Interaction between characters isn't. That is, you click on the Talk icon and click an the character. Interaction is more 'you talk, I'll listen'. Icon management is paramount, too. This is because selected icons stay selected until you reselect another. So woes betide you if your Eat icon, far example, is selected and you are attacked. You must select the Fight icon, make sure you select a weapon and... ah, you've died. Hmmm. Why, couldn't you walk around with a weapon readied at all times, eh? Grrr.

The parallax scrolling section is just a linkage point that takes you from one RPG section to another and, in my opinion, is a complete waste of time. It brings nothing but heartache. There are no items to find, no clues to uncover, lots of energy to lose, sure but it never actually contributes to the game. Besides, I'll bet that many role-players shy away from shoot-'em/beat em-ups and so will feel uncomfortable with the whole set-up. I do. God, how hate games that merge different game styles. Leave arcade games to the kids, Psygnosis, and give us thoughtful types a nice, juicy cerebral-'em-up. Whaddya say?

Zzap! Issue 71, March 1991, p.36