How many times have we, the games buying public, seen products arrive at the shops with amazing graphics and unbelievable sound, only to find that they play like a damp squid? Yep, far too many times for my liking. Psygnosis are normally the culprits - take Shadow of the Beast 1 and 2 as an example.
Now Thalion, the company behind such hits as A320 Airbus, have produced Lionheart, offering amazing graphics and unbelievable sound - but does it have the playability?
Destiny is a funny thing isn't it? Do you believe in the right place at the right time? Well, the hero of this platform hack-'em-up most definitely believes in destiny. His name is Valdyn, otherwise known as Lionheart because of his reckless courage and fierceness.
Valdyn might be brave, but that didn't stop him being put in prison for no reason whatsoever. A few days passed and he was taken from his cell and presented to the King who explains that the Showing Festival is on in less than three days.
At said festival the King has to show a holy jewel to his people to prove his right to rule. Of course the jewel has been stolen, and the king wants Valdyn to bring it back before the festival starts. Why Valdyn? Destiny that's why. The name of the jewel is The Lionheart.
Yes, unfortunately it's yet another platform game, but you never know, it could be different. I have to admit the graphics are truly excellent. Your hero is really well animated and drawn, although he does tend to look like a cross between Lion-O out of Thundercats and He-Man (and indeed, Biffa himself. It's the hair- Ed).
The backgrounds are superb and the parallax really gives everything that look of quality - mainly because it is displayed in interlace. This looks really good on a monitor, but could be a bit different on a television set.
In the tunes department there are a whole batch of top high quality Amiga musical ditties, but there isn't much to report on the sound effects front, although what there is is adequate.
Now on to the really important bit, playability. I was quite surprised, because I thought it would be exactly like Shadow of the Beast and suffer really badly. However this is much more playable than Psygnosis' over-
There are a few niggles, because the controls don't respond as well as they should. Nevertheless you can't really fault the playability.
Lionheart is fairly addictive, but no great challenge on the easy level. There are two more difficulty settings, but instead of your enemies getting harder to kill, the whole set changes completely, which is a really good idea because you actually get two games for the price of one.
Lionheart is a great platform hack-'em-up - one of the best of its type. Top marks go to the graphics and music, and thankfully they managed to make it playable. In fact the only reason I mark it down is that for some reason it slows down in parts and then speeds up really quickly.
Also if you take the graphics and sound away you're left with a fairly bog standard platformer and some gamers might not be willing to pay for another one.
Lionheart is good but it's not Gamer Gold material. However, this might turn out to be a dark horse and shoot right up to the top of the charts. Then again, we all know how rightly picky some of you are.
So my verdict - Lionheart is worth it if you've got plenty of money to chuck around. If not, just admire the screenshots and wait for another platform game to come along. You won't have long to wait.