Too many companies are prepared to trash out formulaic games and then blame poor sales on piracy or 'market forces'.
But Millennium have come up with a new slant on an old idea. Vital Light is sort of a combination of Klax and a Galaxian-
It looks a bit like a bastardised version of Simon (an old 70s simplistic micro
The sphere is confined to a rail that runs along the bottom of the screen. Running above the sphere and parallel with thi rail is a force
Each of the colour buttons on the sphere can align with a tube connected to your sphere that can extend to the top of the screen. This tube is your sight to fire beams of light at coloured blocks falling towards the bottom of the screen. To be rid of a block, you have to ensure that it's made up of only one colour.
The blocks start off simply, consisting of no more than three or four blocks with only one of the colours needing to be changed. These become progressively more difficult with patterns of random colours, rotating colours and blocks falling at varying speeds.
And if that wasn't difficult enough, obstacles occasionally appear along. These obstacles can be broken, but that takes time. Time in which the blocks are reaching your precious force
To add extra interest, there are also a couple of two-player games. In the first you co-operate with the other player. No prizes for guessing what you do in the second.
One of the main criticisms of Vital Light is the lack of passwording. Nobody wants to keep playing a level they can do in their sleep to get to the one that's causing them problems. The restart function doesn't prolong the game life much either.
The second criticism is aimed at the control system. It's slick and well implemented, but a second and possibly even a third fire button would be appreciated.
It's the method of firing your beams of light and rotating the sphere that causes problems. They're too slow for the gamer to keep up with the action. To rotate, you have to press the fire button and then either move the joystick left or right. To fire, you press the joystick in the up direction. Power-ups are activated by pulling back on the stick.
We tested Vital Light with four joysticks - Zipstick, Cheetah 125, CD32 controller and Cheetah Bug, fine touch control was non-existent. Invariably, when the blocks speeded up, we ended up over rotating to the wrong colour. Over reliance on joystick mechanics is not acceptable in a game that needs fast reactions.
Millennium could have included a routine that detected the presence of a CD32 controller. That way, the rotate function could be carried out by pressing a shoulder button. As it stands, joystick mechanics hold the game back from its full potential.