Nebulus


Title		Nebulus
Game Type	Platform
Company		Hewson Consultants, 1987/8
Programmer      John M. Phillips
Players		1 or 2
Compatibility   All With Patch
HD Installable  Yes (With Patch)
Submission	Paul Matthes

Review
By the late 1980s Hewson Consultants had established themselves as the
software company as far as 8 Bit platforms went. They had grown a
reputation for well coded and original games with good sound and graphics
to add to the general impression of polish. However, Hewson's impact on
the 16 Bit market had been marginal at best. Games like Cybernoid, Exolon
and Netherword which pushed the Spectrum, C64 and CPC platforms to their
limit lost some of their sparkle when played on an Amiga or Atari ST.

In 1987 Hewson released Nebulus on the 8 Bit machines. This very original
take on the platform genre involved the main character climbing a tower
avoiding all sorts of traps and enemies along the way - did I say
original?  Well yes. For starters, although you viewed the action side
on, the tower appeared to "rotate" as you moved from left to right,
jumping from platforms along the way. The idea of the game centred around
a small, green frog like alien called Pogo who piloted a small submarine.
The main character was fixed in a central point as the tower rotated
around the action, rather than the other way round. Happily, the game was
converted to the Amiga in early 1988 and made use of the many enhancements
that the Amiga offered.

Eye candy, and plenty of it. The Amiga version especially majored in good
visuals for the time, and one of the nicest features of Nebulus was the
multicoloured backdrops to the towers, which made use of the copper and
some lovely "ripple" reflections in the water itself. The towers
themselves scroll very smoothly with some nice effects along the way.

The main Pogo sprite is nicely animated, and you will have plenty of
puzzles to solve as you ascend each tower. These will vary from simply
judging the right time to jump between platforms, to finding a specific
route to the top, avoiding all sorts of enemies and platforms which may
suddenly give way at a moments notice. Once you reach the top of the
tower, it collapses back into the sea and you will get back into your
Submarine and on to a neat sub-game. When travelling to the next tower,
you get the chance to earn bonus points by shooting at fish to stun them
and catching them with the submarine. Here you were treated to several
layers of parallax scrolling backgrounds and some nice sprite effects
along the way.

The lasting appeal of Nebulus was not so much the graphics but the well
judged game play. The game has a very simple appeal which will keep you
coming back for more. The difficulty level is spot on with enough of a
challenge to keep you motivated without being too easy. Even now, I still
play Nebulus from time to time on my old A500.

This is one game which has never received the recognition that it
deserved, and is a happy mix of innovation, nice visuals and addictive
gameplay. A forgotten classic.




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