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US Gold Ltd
1990
Puzzle
£9.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


40
Laurence Scotford
Chris Bourne

US Gold's latest masterpiece is an arcade style puzzler that makes Newtonian physics look fun.

Snooker games have proved how much fun there is to be had out of exploiting the laws of physics in a game - even with something as apparently mundane as the motion of a few balls. Now US Gold has managed to bag itself an original piece of software based around Newtonian physics, although for reasons known only to themselves the title and loading picture suggest that the game has more to do with Einstein than with his predecessor.

The idea behind the game is simply to knock spheres around a two-dimensional playing area, using a ball that can be steered, so that spheres of a similar colour collide and cancel each other out. It is most important that spheres of differing colours do not meet, as they will then form another smaller, embryonic ball. Run over this with your own sphere and you will gain extra energy. If you leave embryonic balls for too long, however, they will form full-size spheres that must be eliminated in the normal way.

In the early screens you only have to contend with bars that obstruct the motion of the spheres and cause them to bounce around dangerously. In later stages some of the spheres (possibly including the one you control) are attached by elastic lines which severely effect the motion of all the joined spheres. It is not uncommon for one sphere which is joined to another to disappear off one side of the screen and reappear on the other, still attached, but with a collection of bars separating the two.

The nice thing about E-motion is that it requires a fairly balanced combination of arcade skills and brain-work. Movement of your own sphere is controlled by rotating a pointer within the ball until it indicates the direction that you wish to move in, and then holding the fire button to apply "thrust" in that direction. You have to keep moving fairly swiftly too. As time goes on, the remaining spheres begin to vibrate - if they are left for too long then they explode draining your energy. If your energy should be exhausted then your own sphere will be atomised (or should that be pixelised?).

The brain-work gets involved every time you reach a new screen. It is certainly not advisable to plough straight in there knocking balls left right and centre. It is far better to sacrifice a bit of time in working out the best way to solve each stage before actually trying anything. Otherwise you will find that one false move could set up a chain of particularly nasty events. Sometimes too, you will find that it actually pays to create additional spheres (in a controlled way of course), but this will require some careful thought first.

E-motion is very much an unclassifiable product. It is quite easy to get to grips with, but very difficult to master, so there is quite a challenge there. It is the sort of product that is unique to computer gaming, and therefore exactly the sort of thing that a computer game should be. If you like games like Tetris you will almost certainly have a ball with this one.

Reviewer: Laurence Scotford

RELEASE BOX
Atari ST, £24.99dk, Out Now
Amiga, £24.99dk, Out Now
Spec, £9.99dk, Out Now
IBM PC, £24.99dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £TBAdk, Imminent
No other versions planned.

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 3/5
1 hour: 3/5
1 day: 4/5
1 week: 3/5
1 month: 2/5
1 year: 1/5

Initially this is an intriguing product - unlike anything you've ever seen before. It proves to be very quick to get into, but it will take you several games to master the technique required to clear screens safely. I'm not convinced that this product has long term staying power. There is not really enough variety in the game play to keep you playing once you have solved most of the screens.

6/10
7/10
7/10
7/10
825/1000

Banner Text

SPECTRUM VERSION

This is a little more difficult to play than the other versions because the spheres are all the same colour and are identified by patterns. This doesn't help when the action hots up. The spheres are smaller too. Apart from these factors gameplay is more or less identical - sounds good too.

ATARI ST VERSION

A little less colourful than the Amiga version, and with slightly tinnier sound, but just as playable nonetheless. The background is nicely created with Fourier patterns, making the game look very nice indeed.

Graphics: 7/10

Audio: 7/10

IQ Factor: 7/10

Fun Factor: 8/10

Ace Rating: 880/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 4/5

1 hour: 4/5

1 day: 5/5

1 week: 4/5

1 month: 3/5

1 year: 2/5

PC VERSION

Gameplay is more or less identical to the other versions but sound is the usual tacky PC affair. The game caters for CGA (which doesn't look that bad considering the colour limitations), EGA, and VGA - which is just as attractive as any of the other versions reviewed here.

Graphics: 8/10

Audio: 5/10

IQ Factor: 7/10

Fun Factor: 8/10

Ace Rating: 850/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 4/5

1 hour: 4/5

1 day: 5/5

1 week: 4/5

1 month: 3/5

1 year: 2/5

AMIGA VERSION

This is the most colourful and attractive of the versions we played - 32 colour ray-traced images set against a nice colour-graduated background. The sound is suitably ethereal and, for once, actually adds something to the gameplay.

Graphics: 8/10

Audio: 8/10

IQ Factor: 7/10

Fun Factor: 8/10

Ace Rating: 890/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 4/5

1 hour: 4/5

1 day: 5/5

1 week: 4/5

1 month: 3/5

1 year: 2/5

Screenshot Text

E-Motion on the Amiga. Very nice ray-traced graphics and lots of atmospheric sound to go with them.

As you can see. E-Motion on the Spectrum is not quite as colourful as it's 16-bit counterparts, but there is still a good game in there.