Title Odyssey Game Type Platform Company Audiogenic, 1995 Players 1 Compatibility All HD Installable No Submission Matthew Horsley Review "Odyssey" was released in the autumn of 1995, just as the Amiga market was starting to stagnate with "Doom" clones. For this reason, "Odyssey" was something of a godsend. Here, amidst all these games trying to push the Amiga into doing what a powerful PC could was a game that was a classic side-on sprite-based platform adventure and was playing to the Amiga's natural strengths. It wasn't even AGA-only. In "Odyssey" you control an elf-like central character who must explore the "Islands of Essence" searching for crystals and keys. The keys are required to eventually gain access to the castle on the central island called "Raphus" on which the game implores you to "kill the King!". The island selection screen is well-presented, with a ghostly see-through hand allowing you to select which island you want to visit. The game is fairly non-linear, as you can choose any of the islands to visit, although to explore some you will need to find certain crystals - more on that later. On choosing an island, we find our hero standing in his boat in a sparkling blue sea at the edge of the island. The gameplay, as mentioned earlier, is a platform adventure game. The well-drawn and animated main sprite runs and leaps across the island, climbing the trees and buildings and fighting the creatures he finds there. As well as this, he will find many cavern-entrances that allow him into caves on the island that are explored in the same way. The islands and their caverns are well-drawn and atmospheric and are populated by imaginative creatures. A lot of thought has gone into graphical effects (such as the cave entrance appearing dark when you are outside and bright and dazzling when you are in the cave itself) and sound effects (the constant howl of the wind is very atmospheric, although the fact that it seems to "follow" you into the cavern is a bit of an oversight). The enemies that our hero encounters include bow-firing elves, goblins wielding scimitars as large as they are, spiders, "Morph"-like creatures that grow on trees and the infamous rockmen who come in all shapes and sizes. As is common with this type of game, there are many puzzles to solve. As well as the standard "collect this key to open this door" type, there are also some puzzles which require a little more thought such as having to step on a pressure pad to cause an arrow to fire from the ceiling and then hit that arrow with your sword to make it change direction and fly into an unreachable button. This adds challenge and variety to the platform-based action. There are also puzzles which require you to be more than a mere humanoid swordsman. This is where the aforementioned crystals come in. "Odyssey"'s gimmick which raises it above the level of so many other fine platform-adventures is it's shape-shifting feature. Three of the islands have crystals to be collected, the Crawl Crystal, the Ground Crystal and the Flight Crystal. There are also further crystals which allow you to use the power of these crystals to change your shape (via a nice morphing sillhouette animation) into that of different animals - including grasshopper, spider, bird and one of the rock-creatures. These creatures have special abilities - the grasshopper can make huge jumps, the bird can (of course) fly, the rockman can roll through narrow tunnels -that our hero will need to conquer the other islands and find the keys to reach the central island, enter the castle and kill the King! "Odyssey" is an excellent game that was tragically released at a late period in the Amiga's history and was thus not given the attention (and success) that it deserved. It is not perfect - the graphics do not vary much between islands, some slain enemy creatures simply turn into a "dead" sprite without much animation and I have encountered a few bugs whilst playing it on my A1200. However, these are minor quibbles about a game that is a classic of it's genre.