Antago logo

ART OF DREAMS £19.95 * Joystick

Immortality is a drag. Ask any angel: it is all hanging about on clouds, twanging harps and wearing long dresses. One day, though, during a brief respite in the war between good and evil, the cherubs got together with the devils. Between them they created a game to fend off the monotony they called it Antago.

An Othello/Checkers hybrid, Antago has few rules but bucketloads of strategy. The angel and devil face up across a board, five squares by five. Each takes it in turn to place pieces on the board with the aim of getting five of their own in a row. The angle uses cute clouds, while the devil plays with huge spiked balls.

The players can only reach the very edge of the gameboard, so they are unable to directly affect the pieces in the centre. However, when a new piece is conjured where one already exists, the new ball or cloud dorces the present one a square forward, with a knock-on effect down the line. If there is already five in the row then the last piece is simply pushed off the board into oblivion.

Subtlety and cunning are requied as lines are manoeuvred to create a winning row (any row of five will do). When the board clogs up with red and white blobs, the skill of disguising your potential line becomes increasingly important: with just one piece, you try to bump the balls to produce a winning line from nowhere. The one rule is that you cannot knock the last piece placed by your opponent into the void. It can be moved, but not destroyed.


Antago is cute. The Angel sports a nightshirt and halo, the devil a potbelly and horns. Floating around the board they bodycheck each other mercilessly out of the way. They even drop subtle hints about the speed of play, filing their nails, looking board or reading hymn sheets between slow moves. These caricature sprites are juxtaposed with swirling surreal backgrounds and backed up with an eerily atmospheric theme tune, making Antago an instantly attractive game.


Playing against the machine, interest can be sustained with a batch of pre-generated boards. These add extra conundrums and complications. The game's real charm, though, lies in one-one contests against a friend, when it is a head-to-head, knives-drawn, backstabbing fight.


Undeniably cute and instantly playable, Antago is destines to be an occasional game rather than a lasting passion. Even its twee characters and wild backgrounds cannot compensate for the lack of long-term solo appeal. In one-on-one mode it is great, but alone even the horde of pre-configured boards cannot sustain longterm interest.

Bescheidene Teufelei

Antago logo

Für ihr Strategiespielchen haben die Jungs von Art Dreams buchstäblich Himmel und Hölle in Bewegung gesetzt: Hier kämpft nämlich ein kleiner Engel mit einem Teufelchen um die Vorherrschaft auf diversen Spielfeldern.

Besagt Spielflächen bestehen jeweils aus fünf mal fünf Feldern, die das Engelchen mit kleinen Wölkchen zu besetzen trachtet, während der Beelzebub gleiches mit stacheligen Höllenbällen versucht. Wer zuerst eine Reihe für sich vereinnahmt, hat (hoch, quer oder diagonal) gewinnt den Level, wer drei Level für sich entscheidet, ist Sieger.

Einzig der Umstand, daß gegnerische wie eigene "Steine" über den Spielraster (oder sogar drüber hinaus!) geschoben werden, sobald man an ein besetztes Feld "anbaut", verleiht dem simplen Strategietest ein bißchen Würze.

Weder das unterschiedliche Leveldesign, noch die wirklich niedliche Animationen der putzigen Spielfiguren kann darüber hinwegtäuschen, daß es sich bei Antago nur um eine leicht aufgepeppte Variante des bekannten "Vier gewinnt" handelt.

Zwar ist die Knobelei anfänglich ganz unterhaltsam, zumal die Gestik der beiden Widersacher immer wieder für ein Schmunzeln gut ist, doch vermag das bescheidene Spielprinzip kaum länger als ein Stündchen zu fesseln.

Da kann auch das Auswahlmenü, wo bestimmt wird, ob ein oder zwei Tüftler zocken, ob trainiert werden soll, wie stark der Computergegner ist, und ob man lieber auf einem leeren Raster oder mit einer vorbestimmten Ausgangslage zur Sache gehen mag, verlorenen Boden nicht mehr gut machen.

Daß sich der Sound auf ein oder zwei FX beschränkt, dürfte hier nur mehr von rein akademischen Interesse sein... (ml)

Antago logo CU Screen Star


It is the final battle and Mankind's fate lies in the balance. 'Good' and 'Evil' finally get a chance to have a good old fisticuffs and smack the hell out of each other. Still, I never expected this fracas to take place over a cock-eyed game of Connect 4.

Antago is played on a board five by five square. The two opponents (an angel and Satan) have to try and get five of their pieces (clouds for the angel, fireballs for the devil) in a row, in any direction. Pieces can only be placed on the outer squares, and by dropping one on an occupied ara, the previous item is nudged along.

Should you place a piece at the start of an occupied line of squares, the line slides along and the end piece drops off the other edge making way for the new object. This leads to a continually changing board, which destroys strategies faster than you can set them up. It takes a highly analytical mind to work out what to do next.

Playing Antago, you can see how far artificial intelligence has developed. There are ten skill levels to test and, even at the easiest, simple strategies just do not work. It is easy to play, but winning is a totally different kettle of kippers.

Graphics-wise, there is not really much to report. They are attractive, but not outstanding. There are a few humorous touches. Opponents smash each other out of their way when they want to walk past and the devil looks positively gleeful when the saint is about to make a bad move.

The use of varied backdrops and board design adds some variety but, with this type of game, the graphics are not too important.

Antago is addictive. It captivates and won't let go. It is a game you can play many times and never want to put down. The two-player mode is even better. If you have a friend to play against, do not miss it. One of the most enjoyable strategy games since chess.