There is nothing like a frantic beat 'em-up for a quick aggression-
A wealth of fine quality beat-'em-ups have hit the Amiga in recent times and the more violent the better. But now Finnish software house, Terramarque, are breaking the mould with a new non-violent-
According to the ancient magical laws of Muhmulandia (the land of the Elves) whoever challenges the Crown to an Honour Fight, and wins, will gain control of the country. Another, even great prize also awaits. This is the mystical Dragon Fan which will reveal the secrets of the Universe.
It is a prize worth fighting for but you must give the king reason to fight, and to do this you must hire your own fighters to conquer the Champion Fighters - representatives of the King.
Many beat-'em-ups have been released for the Amiga and in my mind Body Blows Galactic still reigns supreme. Granted, it may be more violent, but you do have a good choice of moves and characters available and graphically it looks superb.
Mortal Kombat, employing a different style altogether, also has more to it than Elfmania with regards to the action. Elfmania doesn't seem to pack quite the same punch as other games of this nature or give the same sense of satisfaction after a round well fought.
It does have a certain charm though, and if you're looking for a beat 'em up that has a strategic angle without the blood and guts then it's definitely worth buying.
Music accompanies the fight scenes but it isn't particularly astounding - it's not one of those irritating, grating tunes but it doesn't really conjure up any atmosphere either. A more fitting choice of soundtrack could have really enhanced the theme of the game and evoked more of an atmosphere.
The usual shouts and yells that fit in with the moves are included and quite realistically convey the action. All the characters have catch phrases which they use at the beginning or end of a fight. These work well and do create the feeling of the tournament spirit.54%
Graphically, Elfmania is absolutely stunning. The attention to detail paid in creating the backdrops is amazing. The scenes actually look three dimensional and with the backgrounds realistically fading into the distance, the overall impression of the setting is well conveyed.
Small details show the care with which the graphics have been made. For example, in each scene there is an animated object or character in the background. Doors open and spectators blink or move slightly.
Although only subtle details, which at first do go unnoticed, they work well, and unlike some games that try this approach it doesn't go over the top and distract from the gameplay.70%
While it is a nice idea having a 'less violent' beat-'em-up by using cute elf characters, it is at times a bit too twee and everything is a bit too nice.
Beat- 'em-ups bring out the more aggressive style of playing and when your opponent is a smiling elf it can become rather frustrating. The game redeems itself when you meet the tougher fighters later on and gets the real fighting feel back into it.
More moves would have benefited the game as they are quite limited. All the characters have very similar moves and although this results in a simple control system that is easy to get to grips with, it does become rather repetitive after a while. The special moves also take a fair amount of joystick bashing to get to work. And what can't be forgiven is all the disk accessing. The game is not hard disk installable and unless you have an extra drive you will be constantly plagued with swapping between disks after each fight.
It's not all bad though, far from it in fact. The game does have a lo going in its favour, such as an artificial intelligence system which means you can't just find one successful move and use it throughout the fight because the computer susses out what you are up to and will avoid your hits.
The control system is easy to get the hang of and the coin idea is excellent. When you hit your opponent he releases coins - you can then hit them back at your opponent to cause additional damage.
Two-player mode is also quite fun and you can choose from all of the six fighters available (in a one player game they only become available when you have earned enough coins). The strategic angle is a nice touch. The country is divided into 36 counties and via the map
But it's up to you whether to go straight ahead and try for the six in a row or build up your cash by defeating the easier opponents and going on to the Bonus Stage.
So, despite its 'cutesy' appearance and limited amount of moves and characters, this is a surprisingly playable and addictive title. The sprites are solid and well animated, the backdrops absolutely superb and the extra features add a novel aspect to it.