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Psygnosis £34.99 * Joystick * Keyboard, mouse and T-shirt

There's something rotten in the state of Middlemere and Wil Mason - history teacher extraordinaire - aims to root it out. Wil has been flung through time by freak weather so has to find a way home and unite the disparate parts of a mysterious machine, which have been hidden by the four warring lords of Middlemere.

Wil starts from a central tower and he explores this world of forests, mines, castles and rambling roads. At every turn royal guards of the four brothers set upon him as he tries to upset their imperial apple-cart. To make matters worse magic works here and Wil must use it to succeed. Via command icons Will's response to any situation is up to you, but he must get enough sleep and sustenance if he's going to survive and succeed.

Obit' on the side
Obitus allows three different gaming views of Middlemere. The main perspective is in the Dungeon Master or Captive style with Wil negotiating mazes of mines and trees. A sideways view is employed for travel between locations, when Wil switches to arcade-adventure mode. Both styles are combined for his exploration of castles.

All three views exhibit the graphic quality and power that has made Psygnosis famous. The scrolls are smooth, the characters are well animated, while the parallax on the arcade section strongly echoes Beast I.

Where there's a Wil...
Obitus is a game of kit collection and killing. Only by gathering the right stuff, and in the right order can certain foes be beaten and the necessary areas be accessed.

The game is big and the plot is constructed to ensure maximum use is made of the three different styles of presentation.

Yet despite its graphic glory, the hugeness of the map and complexity of the plot, Obitus never gets exciting. Paced as an adventure the 'maze' sections never capture the frenetic pace of Dungeon Master or Captive. The arcade sections are easy to survive if not beat, and only the castle exploration really comes alive.

Obitus is a strong adventure game that employs a very friendly games system, but only the more pedantic gamers will see Wil back in 1991.


Stuff - the definitive guide

Wil has a very large bag and an incredibly strong back. This means anything he finds on his travels can be blagged for later use. The more he carries the more knack'ed he gets, so to help decide what's useful and what's edible, in-depth descriptions are only a click away. Quantity is useful when duplicate kit has automatically been stored with your existing supplies. Weight is shown as weight-per-item and total weight. Value is used when trading, as looks can be deceptive. Nutritional value lets you know which munch will benefit Wil most health wise. Mystic alludes to the magical properties of any item.


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Bei Psygnosis hat man die Flops der letzten Monate nun endgültig verdaut, jetzt geht's zu neuen Ufern: Im jüngsten Werk der Jungs aus Liverpool sind weder Laser noch Raumschiffe zu finden! Sapperlot, ja was denn sonst?

Nun, zum Beispiel Burgen, Höhlen, Wälder und Dungeons. Aber, das wird doch nicht? Doch, die Action-Spezialisten haben sich tatsächlich an einem Fantasy-Adventure mit Rollenspiel-einschlag versucht!

Da wollen wir uns doch gleich mal die Ausgangssituation vorknöpfen: Als Wil Mason eines schönen Morgens die Augen aufschlägt, wird ihm sofort klar, daß hier irgendetwas ganz furchtbar schiefgelaufen ist. Gestern Abend ist er noch mit seinem Auto durch die Straßen Liverpools gedüst - was macht er dann jetzt plötzlich im Rittersaal einer Burg?

Tja, genau das sollt Ihr herausfinden. Aber damit ist es nicht getan, viel wichtiger wäre es dem guten Wil, wenn ihm jemand zeigen könnte, wie er wieder heim kommt...

Wer das Geheimnis lüften will, muß sich an die Erforschung der vier umliegenden Ländereien machen. Diese Bezirke sind unterteilt in kleinere Landschaften, voller Gegner, Rätsel und Einheimischer, denen man so manche wichtige Information entlocken kann.

Um an solche Infos zu kommen, muß man Handel treiben oder kleine Geschenke unters Volk bringen; um sich die Gegner vom Leib zu halten, hat man einen Bogen im Gepäck.

Überall wimmelt es von nützlichen Gegenständen, die darauf warten, eingesammelt zu werden: Goldmünzen,Schlüssel und Fackeln in Hülle und Fülle. Die meisten der (relativ simplen) Rätsel bestehen denn auch aus dem Finden und Abliefern von derlei Sachelchen.

Gesteuert wird unser Held über ein komfortables Maus/Icon-System: Zur Fortbewegung gibt's ein Richtungskreuz, wer sich mit Leuten unterhalten, essen, trinken oder schlafen will, kann das ebenfalls per Mausklick machen.

Für den Umgang mit Gegenständen genügt es, zuerst das Befehls-Icon und dann den Gegenstand (entweder im Inventory oder direkt am Screen) anzuklicken. Bis hierher also nichts aufregend Neues, auch die recht hübsche 3D-Grafik kennt man bereits aus ähnlichen Games.

Aber: Jedes mal, wenn Wil einen neuen Spielabschnitt betritt, folgt eine Actioneinlage! Dann rast der Held durch eine Landschaft a la "Beast", komplett mit schießwütigen Feinden und feinem Parallaxscrolling. Als alleinstehende Action-Spiele wären diese Kampfsequenzen zwar ein bißchen dürftig, als Abwechslung zu den Rätseln sind sie aber ganz OK.

Auch die Grafik geht in Ordnung, das Intro ist gewohnt edel, die Sound-FX sind spärlich, aber stimmungsvoll. Wer allerdings nur über einen 512K-Amiga verfügt, wird sich mit nerv-tötenden Nachladezeiten abfinden müssen.

Alles in allem ist Obitus zwar nicht de Gipfel der Originalität, aber für Nachwuchs-Abenteurer schon wegen der einfachen Handhabung ganz sicher ein Testspielchen wert. (Kate Dixon)



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Expecting Shadow Of The Beast 2 revisited, I was somewhat surprised with Obitus. It's an interesting and varied arcade/adventure, with some very nice graphics.

The plot is a run of the mill affair, which reflects on the game's puzzles and style. What is interesting is the way the game has been split into three distinct styles. The first of these uses some very attractive 3D routines, and crams in plenty of playability. Next is a rather dull parallax scrolling aracde section, which is slightly reminiscent of EI's Wrath Of The Demon, though not as entertaining. Finally, there's a Sierra-style exploration stage which is the real meat of the game.

Unfortunately, Obitus suffers from too much disk swapping, though I don't think the programmers could have helped that. The puzzles are straightforward and not too taxing, though the arcade elements balance the gameplay and help provide a real challenge for the player.

It's a very involving game so I recommend putting a few hours aside as it's very addictive. A pen and paper will also come in handy for noting down those vital clues.

Obitus shouldn't be taken as a poor man's Beast 3/ Arcade adventure fans and Psygnosis freaks alike will doubtless find a place for this in their collection. I think it deserves it.



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Psygnosis, Amiga £34.99 (with T-shirt)

Obitus is a strange mixture of RPG-type play and downright, sideways scrolling arcade action. You might imagine such a combination to result in a weird game - and you'd be right. As, mild-mannered Wil Mason you find yourself in Middlemere. You must explore the four shires of the place, chat to people, kill a few others, collect and use items but, most of all, find out where the hell you are and how you can get out!

The RPG section gives you a first-person viewpoint in the Dungeon Master vein. I say Dungeon Master because there are many similarities. For example, you can directly manipulate objects in the gameworld (such as picking up an apple or a gold coin). Then there is the combat. Again, you click on the target and the bow/dagger/etc is hurled towards your foe. You see it sail off into the distance until it hits or misses.

One difference to DM, though, is Obitus's superb scrolling. It is smoooooth, no doubting about it, you just glide from location to location. Actually, this became a drawback while walking around a forest area because you cannot turn around until you reach the centre of a location. The trouble was that I could not, on occasion, centre myself properly and so promptly flew into a fit of rage. Sigh.

Interaction between characters isn't. That is, you click on the Talk icon and click an the character. Interaction is more 'you talk, I'll listen'. Icon management is paramount, too. This is because selected icons stay selected until you reselect another.

So woes betide you if your Eat icon, far example, is selected and you are attacked. You must select the Fight icon, make sure you select a weapon and... ah, you've died. Hmmm. Why, couldn't you walk around with a weapon readied at all times, eh? Grrr.

The parallax scrolling section is just a linkage point that takes you from one RPG section to another and, in my opinion, is a complete waste of time. It brings nothing but heartache. There are no items to find, no clues to uncover, lots of energy to lose, sure but it never actually contributes to the game. Besides, I'll bet that many role-players shy away from shoot-'em/beat em-ups and so will feel uncomfortable with the whole set-up. I do.

God, how hate games that merge different game styles. Leave arcade games to the kids, Psygnosis, and give us thoughtful types a nice, juicy cerebral-'em-up. Whaddya say?