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%%  Review:  Brian the Lion                         By: Katie Nelson     %%
%%  By Psygnosis                                    knelson@bbs.xnet.com %%
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Brian The Lion -- Psygnosis

Brian the Lion, although pretty much the standard (well-done) platformer
in play-style, is set apart from other games by its spectacular graphics.
This is one of the best games an ECS (and a good one for an AGA)
Amiga owner could have.  If you're sick of your Sega or SNES (you're
STILL friends with them?  :) ) talking about how arcade-like and
wonderful their games are, show them this game.  The backgrounds
especially are amazing.

Brian himself boasts wonderful animation, and unlike most platformers,
not just in his head and feet.  His entire body is animated, and the
expressiveness of the character increases the entertainment.  Even the
small characters that show your status are animated, with the
punching-glove "hit" point character grimacing every time you get hit,
and looking as if it is screaming when you fall down a bottomless pit.
Unfortunately, the "enemy" characters are not so well taken care of, but
you don't see them for very long anyway as you race by trying to beat
the clock.

Oh, and one of the neatest-looking parts (it makes me dizzy, in fact) is in
one of the bonus rounds.  In order to get there, you have to beat the
clock as you complete a level, which is somewhat difficult, actually.
One of the better places to do this is the first secret "place" off of the
very beginning level.  When you are presented with your choice of
bonus levels (there are three, if I remember correctly), choose the cloud
one.  But don't stand still, clouds aren't very sturdy.

To add to the great graphics is wonderful sound.  Many game
soundtracks become tiresome after about 3 run-throughs, and you end
up shutting off the sound and blasting your stereo.  Fortunately, Brian
shows a great variety of music, which happily is becoming more
common in the newer platforms.

The plot:  It has one.  To me, at least, the plot isn't important (in this
type of game).  You're supposed to save your friend.  Standard-type-thing.
To do this, you need to get through all the levels.  Standard-type-thing.
On the way, you can pick up crystals which let you buy stuff that helps
you on your way.  Pretty much a standard-type thing.

Oh, but in order to get to some of the secret levels, you'll need high
jumping ability, which you need to buy.  And each "cloud" shop (yes,
look, for the small cloud, and run into it.)  has different prices from the
others, and some shopkeepers are more friendly than the others.
Which is amusing and a nice touch.

One of the very few problems with Brian the Lion is that it's HARD.  I
mean, maybe not a great deal more than average, but in order to get a
password you have to get pretty far in the game.  After the first, they
become a bit more regular.  Of course, if you stop off to the semi-secret
levels (where you still can get killed), it makes the path that much
longer.  Still, an earlier password would have been a big help.

The second quibble I have with the game is the fact that since the
backgrounds are so wonderful, they had to use a great many colors for
them.  Therefore, colors are re-used for Brian and all other characters.
While I understand that this is conservation in order to give the
appearance of an even greater number of colors, sometimes characters
(especially the frogs at the beginning) seem to blend into the
background, making it a bit more difficult to get past them.

The final criticism I have is:  Put something at the bottom of the pits that
characters fall down.  Bottomless pits, bah!  As if somewhere in the
jungle there's a hole that you can fall down that takes you through the
center of the earth and right off the planet.  Would you see people falling
in the other direction?  Is this mighty hole situated anywhere near West
Chester, PA?

All (minor) faults aside, unless you hate platform games, Get This One.
Even if you don't like the play, it'll look good when you show it off to
friends.