Simplicity is everything. All that is great in this world can be attributed to the fact that it has intrinsic simplicity at its core. The second movement of Mozart's Piano Concerto Number 21 (in E flat) is a fantastically structured piece of elegant simplicity. The Japanese Haiku poems present beautiful miniatures of facile grace, and Amanda de Cadenet is a good example of a person who is both beautiful and extremely simple.
We all harbour the optimistic, and possibly naïve, view that the answer to the mysteries of life, the universe and everything will actually turn out to be a very simple equation, or perhaps a word, or syllable even. Whether it will or not, our love of the simple in art and science makes it the central objective of mankind in our time.
Which leads us nicely onto Vector Storm (it does? -Ed). Because here we have a game that is simple in its design, simple in its gameplay, simple in its graphics, and simply brilliant fun. Or it would be. No doubt you have already sneaked a look at the percentage at the end of this review, because I believe it is impossible to settle down to read a review without first sneaking a look at the percentage, just like it is impossible to eat only one cheesy biscuit snack. (For those very few who manage to retain enough self will to avoid looking at the score, I am going to ruin it for you - it is 60%). Having done so you will notice that there is a bit of a discrepancy between the description 'simply brilliant fun' and a score of 60%. I will explain why.
I nearly wept all over my mouse mat
This is one of those sad cases that occasionally slip through - a game that is essentially bloody good being let down by some niggly flaws. But first a little about the game itself. It is a conversion of an excellent arcade game called Tempest. When I loaded it I was filled with dewy eyed nostalgia, and nearly wept all over my mouse mat as images of the arcade, school ties and early eighties pop music giants Haircut 100 came flooding back to me. Ah, those were the days when games were games, men were men and, er, second hand electric blankets were second hand electric blankets.
Anyway, that game was great. And this would be too if it were not for the dodgy control system. How did this happen? The graphics can hardly be said to be stretching the Amiga to its limits, there is no number crunching parallax scrolling for it to deal with, so why does it slow down in places? Why does it stick at the most awkward times? It is a disgrace - this should have been sorted out straight away.
If this was any other game I would give it some low score and forget about it, but I really want this to be perfect, and it is breaking my heart that it is not. The graphics do not bother me - they are not state of the art by any means, but then they never were - they do the job and even add little nostalgia to the thing. But the gameplay - that is what makes this game great, it is simple gameplay.
In fact it is not a complete disaster, because you can still have a good time on this game, you will just find it infuriating when it does stick or slow down, but why waste this opportunity to create a dead-cert 90 percenter? Oh well. That is life. Simple really, isn't it?