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Review: Paul the Penguin-DEMO
Author: David Newton (DavidN)
Added: 25/02/2003

After the amount of effort it took to get this game up on to the Daily Click, I felt obliged to review it. Not that I wouldn't have done anyway, of course, though it sort of got priority.

The plot of this game is rather threadbare, it has to be said - that Doctor Polar is going to destroy Penguin City, and that you as the hero have to stop him. Still, rubbish plots never hurt platform games - look at Sonic the Hedgehog, for example.

The author credits the music as having come from As people who read my reviews regularly might know by now, I like to play a sort of 'name that tune' game in reviews to show just how much of a long-time furtler I am (Bad Influence was great, wasn't it?), and I'm not about to stop now. I'm pretty sure most of the menu music is from Final Fantasy 9, and the first level could be Ice Cap from one of the later Sonic games, but I'm no expert on them. Quadralien... if you're reading this, help. The fourth level's music is the battle music from FF7.

The in-game graphics are of two types, and they clash quite a lot. The background is well done - this is one game that uses gradients well, though they probably slow the game down quite a lot. The mountains in the background also look reasonable in a cartoony way. The worst of the graphics are in the foreground - the platforms and the main character, who is a black arch shape that doesn't have a walking animation. So it's sort of a mixed bag as far as the score for visuals is concerned.

As for the gameplay, it's typical GFactory platform fare - jump around, fire a large bazooka (very well done there, by the way) and try not to get killed. However, the major flaw is that you're sent right back to the start of the level every time you lose a life. When you've made your way through most of it only to be teleported back to the beginning, this is just frustrating.

The program also uses full-screen 800x600 scrolling, which is very slow on my computer and, I assume, a lot of other people's as well. It's best to reduce the window size if you're going to be using scrolling - 640x480 being the absolute maximum. Then again, I do have a computer that's approaching antique status, so it might not be as much of a problem as I think.

Another thing is that the fourth level, Cave-In, is absolutely overwhelming in terms of the number of rocks, lasers, and so on flying about. Again, it might be the slowness of my computer but the player needs a chance.

This game isn't bad at all. The graphics need some work, and it would be nice to have a few more non-standard elements or ideas in it. It has to be said that it's well programmed, and does contain some excellent moments (getting the extra lives, and also the Ice Golem boss, are particularly clever, if you ask me).

For some reason, I feel compelled to award this game straight Sevens. It just seems appropriate for every category - well done, but nothing really special to stand out. Consider it good luck, or something. <-)

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Worth A Click