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One step beyond logo

Still trying to figure out the connection between Madness and Quavers, Jon Sloan goes One Step Beyond...

J One step beyond ust why Ocean decided to name a puzzle game, that's promoting a snack, after a track by Madness is anyone's guess. But I suppose they had their reasons. Still, silly names aside, what's the game all about?

It's a puzzler which is, in concept, very similar to Ocean's earlier effort, Pushover. Given that they were both written by the same bloke I suppose you couldn't really call it a coincidence. The game stars Colin Curly, that strange dog-like creature who also stars in the Quaver ads. You know, whenever he gets a Quaver he goes completely curly and eats just about everything in sight (I still don't understand why eating something that's supposed to counter hunger should make you so hungry). Anyway, Quavers feature strongly in the gameplay with a packet designating the start and end of each level.

PLOTS AWAY!
Unfortunately, One Step has the same old contrived plot. Colin is playing a heavy session of Pushover whilst snacking on his favourite food. Anyway, just as he completes the last level he munches his last Quaver, and this combination of taste and triumph thrusts him into the machine. Colin is now trapped in his Amiga and the only way out is to get to the next packet of Quavers. Yes, silly isn't it.

One step beyond Inside the machine Pushover has warped into a totally new game consisting of tiles or platforms which Colin stands on. To escape he's got to reach the packet of Quavers at the end of the level by jumping from platform to platform. The snag is that the platforms close when he jumps off them and he's got to close every one to complete the level. To make matters worse some of the platforms have different abilities, which can affect the other ones or even Colin himself. For instance, some cause all the others to open again or catapult Colin off at an angle. If that wasn't bad enough he's got to complete it all in a set time limit! It's up to you to use your joystick skills and keen brain to guide Colin on the best route to take through the maze of platforms.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Initially, the game appears very bland with the main sprite taking up very little screen space. It opens poorly with the first level consisting of just three platforms set in the corner of the screen. These prove to be a pushover! Fortunately, in later levels, the whole screen is taken up by platforms leaving you very little time to decide on the best route to take. The difficulty curve is probably pitched just right as the first few levels are pretty simple and allow you time to get used to controlling Colin. However, once this has been mastered more complex puzzles are set which contain some of those special panels featured in the panel.

Fortunately, old Colin is a pretty limber dog creature and, if you hold the fire button down, can leap further or higher than normal – the pay off for this is that he's often stunned when he lands losing you precious seconds.

FRANTIC TIME
As you're up against a time limit you don't have long to decide which route to take, especially when there's loads of special tiles on screen.
Many levels have very tight time limits so you'll often find yourself repeating them over and over again till you get the timing right. One annoying aspect is that Colin has to perform one of his Quaver curls at the end of the level. It's annoying 'cos he takes up to three seconds to do it which can lose you the level. Maybe that was a concession for the license rights.

All in all, One Step Beyond is a fun game. The puzzles aren't too hard but there's 100 levels so they should keep you going for a while. The music is plain, but not too intrusive, and the graphics, though simple, are workman-like. Colin himself is OK as licensed beings go, but he is a little tricky to control, which can be frustrating at times. Still, fans of the genre will like it.

CU Amiga, September 1993, p.66

ICON-TASTIC
There are a number of tiles that feature special properties. These can make Colin leap about like a whirling or simply open or close a set of tiles adjacent to them. Here's a run down.
Standard tile Your common or garden standard tile. It closes once you leap off it. Horizontal opener The horizontal opener has the opposite effect to the shutter. Simple really.
Safe tile This happy face designates a safe tile. You can jump on or off as many times as you want. Shutter tile This shutter tile closes off all those on a direct diagonal to it. Some levels are cleverly designed so that stepping on this tile can mean you close virtually all the level.
Numbered tile These numbered tiles must be closed in the order indicated by the numbers. This doesn't have to be consecutive, i.e. you can close other tiles in-between the sequential ones so long as they keep the same sequence. Bounce-up tile This bounce up sends Colin winging his way into the heavens directly above. Be careful to make sure that there's a tile there 'cos this closes after use and could leave Colin plunging to a painful death.
Delay tile Delay. These act like times so that once you've jumped off they don't close for a certain longer period. Bounce-down tile The bounce down closes when you land on it dropping you down to a tile below (hopefully).
Open 'n' closing tile These tiles don't seem to know their own minds and close and open constantly at a fixed speed. Bounce-up-left tile The bounce up left sends Colin flying off at an angle. His somersaults send him to another platform up there.
Horizontal shutter tile The horizontal shutter closes all tiles in the same line as it. So don't go jumping off it onto one on the same level ços it won't be there where you land. Bounce-up-right tile The bounce up right does the same thing as the bounce up left, only opposite (uhh?).

FAST FOOD
Film licences have long been an established genre within the game industry but there seems to be a growing trend for food licences. Yes, that's right... food licences! In recent times these have taken the form of Chupa Chups lollies appearing in every scene of Zool, plus a free one in the box, and Penguin bars all over Robocod. More recently there was widespread promotion for Lucozade in Team 17's excellent leaper, Superfrog. In that game the mighty recuperative juice actually transforms our hero into his super powered persona.

OCEAN £19.99
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OCEAN, 2 CASTLE STREET, CASTLEFIELD, MANCHESTER M3 4LZ. TEL: 061 832 6633
 
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OUT NOW
PUZZLE
RED RAT
JOYSTICK
2
1
NO
1Mb
 
GRAPHICS
SOUND
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65%
66%
85%
84%
An unassuming but ultimately addictive puzzler.
OVERALL: 75%