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Starlight Software
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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37
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Greyfell is an ancient land ruled over by Mauron The Evil. Norman the Wise (a cat of no particular ambition) hears tales of this sad land from the great wizard Hitormis, whilst quaffing a few too many in his local. According to legend, Mauron stole the Orb of Life and in so doing, sentenced the land to a future without love or peace. A drunken ambition is kindled in Norman's feline breast. He staggers out, vowing to destroy the evil one and return Greyfell to the tranquility it once knew.

What a rash cat, you may think, but curiosity...

Norman is soon embroiled with many enemies, out to prevent him succeeding. Rats, Wolves, Crocodiles, Dragons, Minotaurs, those old favourites - Killer Tomatoes - and even Cat-eating Plants burst forth from all over the place.

These creatures can be despatched with a quick spot of fisticuffs, but Norman also has three spells he can summon up. Physical fighting drains stamina, but, worse, the spells are finite and care should be exercised to conserve them for really tight spots. Stamina, on the other hand, can be replenished by eating plants (walking over them). Stamina is shown as a can of beans - if all the beans vanish. Norman riddles loses one of his nine lives ... how appropriate.

The adventure element in Greyfell is supplied through action icons, seen at the screen base. Pressing fire while Norman is stationary accesses icon mode. With the icons, spells can be selected and fired (unless supplies run dry), objects can be picked up or dropped, and the last selected object can be used. There are also facilities for pausing the game, saving current position to tape and toggling the sound on or off.

Some Greyfellians are pleasant, and are even helpful when they offer clues as to which objects might be collected and to whom they may most usefully be given. Clues appear as speech bubbles in cryptic form like "Fe2Cu". Having pondered on the possible meaning, Norman can hare off to get the required object.

Greyfell is traversed on foot using the cardinal compass points. Pressing against an object allows Norman to cat-jump onto it, if it's low enough. He can also enter the small huts encountered along the way, the scene cutting to their interiors. There may be a series of flip-screen rooms inside, seen Alien 8 style. Norman's objective is to seek out Mauron in his lair, and return the orb to its rightful place in the cup of sorrows. Success is measured 'arcade style' by the number of nasties killed, and adventure style, by the percentage of quests completed.

CRITICISM

'An impressive debut from STARLIGHT. The plot is original, if perhaps slightly tacky. The graphics are cute - the 3D forced perspective screen layout works well, and the characters are endearing. Sound is also well above average with a few tunes and a worthy amount of effects. Greyfell falls over one giant stumbling block: Its gameplay - it left me cold. Stomping around the playing area fighting off the meanies just isn't fun. After a few goes I'd had enough. Not playable or addictive enough for me to recommend.' BEN

'This is a lovely game to launch a new software label with. But despite the flashy loader and pretty graphics, the game breaks no new boundaries. The screens are superbly drawn, pleasing to the eye and offer one of the best 3D views I've seen. The icon-driven section is a bit too cumbersome to use quickly, and things are generally too slow for the average arcade player. The strong adventure elements make it more likely to appeal to adventure players than arcade fans. It's a decent little game, and well worth a look.' PAUL

'Greyfell is very well presented. It has excellent graphics, and a very neat loading sequence. The 3D effect is superbly executed, but unfortunately, the game moves slowly. The fact that there are far too many meanies makes it much more unplayable than it could have been. This is a pity, because if the game had had as much playability as it has polish, then I think this new label would have been off to a flying start. As it stands, I think Greyfell is very well produced, but lacking in the playability department.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor
Use of colour: limited
Graphics: 3D monochrome graphics
Sound: a chirpy tune at the beginning and spot effects throughout
Skill levels: one
Screens: 120 plus
General Rating: Not very original, but this is almost rectified by the highly polished presentation.

86%
84%
61%
59%
59%
67%

Screenshot Text

Norman can't see the doors for the mlking stools.

A shady character gives Norman a not-so-cryptic clue.