The Final Odyssey
Ken Anderson

Requires: AGA, CD, 2Mb

Published by: Vulcan Software
Author: Peter Spinaze

What a relief Final Odyssey is. It's nothing more than a good old-fashioned computer game. There's no worry about being realistic. No-one has been particularly careful to mimic the real world. I don't know about anyone else, but I've got enough of the real world in every day life, without having it on 14 inches of glass when I go home.

The action is set in a pseudo three-dimensional world, viewed top down a la Chaos Engine. Set with the task of rescuing several perfectly fine maidens from the fate of being chucked to a mythical beastie as a sacrifice, your thankless task is to negotiate miles and miles of corridor and maze, solving puzzles along the way. As usual, there's a range of adversaries trying to halt your progress, and Final Odyssey's are refreshingly varied, although The Chaos Engine's artificial intelligence hasn't been copied quite as well as the graphics viewpoint. The monsters, to put it simply, are thick, and the only real difference seems to be in the number of hits that they'll take until they keel over and die. They all plod along at the same rate too, which makes escaping through tight corridors a bit perilous at times.

The puzzles range from the simple - throw a switch to gain access a key to open a door - to the brain-achingly complex, involving careful thought, planning and sometimes sheer luck. Clues are left along the way, sometimes simple, sometimes cryptic. There isn't anything that'll keep you stuck for days, although some do require more than a little thought.

There's lots of nice little touches - the mirrors dotted around the maze shatter when stuck, for example - and lots to secret bits. It lacks the special edge of Chaos Engine; the classic game set a level of coding brilliance, and it's unfair to expect the same from a lone programmer.

Unfortunately, I had a frustrating problem with the game bombing out regularly after picking up a scroll. The game either went into "Game Over" mode, or even worse, "congrats you've won" mode. Sometime reloading a saved game turned the player invisible and apparently invincible. Both the author and Vulcan know of the problem, and blame it in some way on MUI. Hopefully it isn't a widespread problem, and a patch to cure the bug should be forthcoming. [I've played Final Odyssey fairly extensively and did not encounter this bug, for what that's worth. -Jason]

Bugs aside, it's a corker of a game; a lot of thought and planning has went into the design as well as the implementation, and this plays off with dividends. It's a wonderful surprise to find an Amiga game you actually enjoy playing; more, please.

Pros: Massive game world, lots of puzzles and plenty of fun to be had and rewards to be reaped. A game to immerse yourself in.

Cons: Some of the puzzles are a little complex and frustrating. Some flaws in the monster intelligence.

Final Odyssey costs 29.99UKP and can be ordered directly from:

Weird Science Ltd
Q House
Troon Way Business Park
Humberstone Lane
Leicester LE4 9HA
UK

http://www.weirdscience.co.uk


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