It's a little bit of Cylu, it's a bit Ultimate, it's a little like quite a few other games, but Molecule Man is still wonderful. An example of budget software which leaves much of the full price stuff miles behind. Molecule Man is certainly budget game of the month - maybe of the past few months. The wonderful thing about it being that you can completely redesign it and produce a whole new game layout.
Around six months ago quite a few programmers seemed to discover surrealism as a way of life, programs started to be filled with objects normally not associated with one another - Sweevo with its little girls, odd fowl and tropical fruit is one memorable example.
Molecule Man belongs to the same surrealist school of graphics design. The man himself is an inoffensive looking orange with legs, the world he inhabits looks a bit like some textbook diagram showing the structural implications of quantum theory. But here and there are objects and characters (a dustbin with a hideously grinning smile springs to mind) more like some grotesque children's fantasy story. It looks bizarre anyway, and if the general appearance and inter-screen movement is a little Cyluesque well, who cares?
The games is essentially a maze, except that rather than seeking the exit Molecule Man seeks the 16 parts of a circuit that... oh never mind. The major problem is keeping your energy level from dwindling away. Energy can be by picking up coins end using them to buy power if you should find a power point.
Needless to say the coins are few and far between and usually placed in some completely inaccessible part of the maze. There is a further dilemma, the coins are also the only means of getting circuit parts, which again, have to be bought. Power or parts - that is the question?
The surreal graphics, the time limit, the elements of strategy - it makes for a very entertaining, fairly original and addictive game. But that's not all. You also get...
THE OTHER SIDE of the tape contains a utility program which lets you construct your own Molecule Man mazes. Working with the original maze layout you can now move objects, remove objects, block openings, unblock openings, change objects and place coins, pills and circuit parts in completely new locations making the game as easy as you like.
The cursor-driven system is easy to use and it's possible to create mazes even more bizarre and fiendish than the original to test yourself or your friends. It adds a major new dimension to the game which extends its possible playing life significantly.
Authors: Rob Thompson
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Imaginative, surreal and addictive. Packs more finger twitching punch than superficially similar offerings.