Legend has it that Nick Veitch actually got a round in on a Friday night at Hatchetts pub once. Unfortunately, nobody’s alive to substantiate this rumour so it remains a myth. Legend also has it that back in the old days (we’re talking way, way back here, pre-Spice Girls days…) the ol’ King of Minos used to ship a half-dozen virgins off to Crete to be fed to the half-man, half-bull beast there called the Minotaur.
The legend goes on to tell us that Nick also offered his fags round the table. Oh, sorry, wrong myth. The legend goes on to tell us that a fine, upstanding young chap called Theseus thought this was a bit rum so he had a pop at the Minotaur and freed the girls (anything for a snog, eh Theseus?).
That’s where you come in. You are Nick Veitch and must get your wallet… sorry. Off again. No, you’re Theseus and must battle your way through the Minotaur’s labyrinthian maze and rescue the girls.
Enough of legends, and onto the game. Of course, the five huge levels that make up the maze are populated by all manner of baddies who are looking to give you a smack. Thankfully you’re armed with a crossbow to start with and can pick up other weapons along the way (that’s where the plasma rifle comes in you see) so the baddies aren’t too much of a problem. They do have a tendency to re-appear quite a lot though, so you’re never going to be left in peace for long.
Of course, the five huge levels that make up the maze are populated by all manner of baddies...
As well as the baddies wandering around, there are also numerous traps to catch you out and some of them are wholly unfair because there’s absolutely no way you can avoid them. A case in point is one chap who pops up out of the ground and fires a fireball at you. There’s no way of telling that he’s there until you’ve been hit by him a few times and remember to dodge when you go round that particular corner.
Most of the traps can be avoided by solving simple switch-pulling puzzles. Trip a switch here and a trap’s avoided there, or a corridor to a new area of the maze opens. Most of the gameplay hangs around these puzzles, which is good because the majority of them are really enjoyable to solve.
Sure, you’ve going to get stuck at times and find yourself wandering around the same bit of maze wondering what you’re supposed to be doing, but then you’ll notice something you hadn’t spotted before and you’re off again.
The forced 3D perspective of the game works well because everything you need to interact with is in plain view – that great big gold key on the ground is easy to spot and as the only locked door you’ve come across is down to the left, you know it’s going to used town there (once you’ve worked out how to get rid of the statue that’s barring your access to the door itself).
Most of the gameplay hangs around these puzzles, which is good because the majority of them are reallly enjoyable...
The game’s life structure is well thought out too. Although you’ve got four lives, every contact with an enemy or trap causes a bit of life energy to disappear from your meter (you get a half-dozen or so ‘bits’ of life energy per life). This means you have to be careful as you wander around but it doesn’t mean that one little mistake sends you all the way back to the start, though you’ll still be doing that quite a few times if you’re as impatient as me.
It’s large, it’s enjoyable but it’s not a classic. The puzzles and things are sometimes bordering on the tedious and it can be a pain having to re-start from a long way back when you lose a life, although it does force you to be more careful next time, so that’s only a minor gripe.
Even so, it looks and sounds great and is a quality release. Vulcan have even included a bonus two-player hi-res game in there for you to play if you manage to complete the game in one player mode, so there’s a bit of extra VFM. Very nice too.
Well worth taking a good look at and definitely one to go for if you fancy a bit of maze puzzlin’. Put it this way, you’re more likely to get heaps of fun from this than to get Nick Veitch to open his wallet...