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Review: Phil Phrag Beta
Let's get one thing clear - the file size is 1.51MB - neither 0.51MB nor indeed 51MB, as I thought it said at first. Phew.
First impressions are everything, and Phil Phrag makes a good one, with an introduction sequence of decent length. The music, while very well written, doesn't seem appropriate to the intro - it's too fast for it. There are also many spelling mistakes in the dialogue, which might not bother some people but I personally find it a little annoying.
Looking through the help system, I realised that this game reminded me of Duke Nukem. Not the modern, Bruce Campbell version of him, but that old platform game character who shot soda cans and ate turkeys. Ah, for the good old days. By now, pretty eager to try the game itself, I chose 'Start'.
The monotonous music was starting to get to me, but in a way I also thought it was pretty good. Annoying, that. Anyway, the author's provided an option to turn it off if you're not a fan of... Apogee-style nu-metal (no idea how else to describe it!).
Another cut-scene followed, again well drawn but let down by spelling mistakes and the speed of the sequence - the rate of the 'typing' effect isn't very fast at all, and sometimes you want to skip it on a bit. After that it's into the first level.
Everything is very well drawn, but I couldn't help but feel that the layout of the status counters looked untidy. Also, it's only here that you notice the quality of animation on the main character - none too good, I'm afraid. You're going to spend most of your time playing the game looking at this character, so it's something that needs sorting.
After heading in a straight line for a while, there was an awkward platform sequence - it might have been better to have the platforms as, well, platform obstacles, or alternatively to split them into two objects (support and actual platform). The enemies are also awkwardly placed, and this presents the difficulty rather than clever level design.
That is, in fact, the only major problem with the game - it's a challenge but in completely the wrong way.
On starting the game for the second time, it recognised that I had a save and didn't play the intro sequence this time. A very nice touch. Oh, and I was very impressed by the grappling hook. <¦-)
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David Newton (DavidN)