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John M. Phillips
1987
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

103
Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

It's wondrous and fantabulous - it's Nebulus!! Back in Spring those hoopy Hewson boys got together with programmer, John Phillips and megagame Impossaball was born. And that crack pairing have done it again with Nebulus, the cutest and most scheming platform game for aeons.

As the aptly named Pogo - you'll be jumping about everywhere! Your mission (not quite impossaball) is to destroy eight towers which have mysteriously emerged from the Sea. Assuming a cuddly frog form, you are the most amenable of amphibians with snowballs and wit being your only weapons of destruction. Like the fair Rapunzel's lover, all you have to do is climb the tower to ensure success. It'll then go on to destruct mode and you can swim on to the next tower.

Unfortunately, no-one's going to let their goldy-locks down to help you. Instead you have to follow a mazy series of spiral steps built around the outside of the tower. Which is where the mega-amazing rotational 3-D scrolling comes in. This staggering programming allows travel round and up the tower, entering and exiting various doors to emerge at different parts of the tower with utter smoothness without ever going to the edge of the screen. Instead the tower winds like a screw thread through your monitor.

The further up the tower you go, the more devilish the puzzles that need solving for progress to be made. And speed is of the essence too, as you've only three lives to play with and the on-screen counter rattles down from 500 to the frenetic beat of some faberoony music. Vigilance is equally crucial, as you can't predict what's coming round the next spiral turn. Flashing blocks and bouncing balls can be zapped to add on points (every 5000 earns an extra life) but silver spheres can only be momentarily stunned, whilst the snow crystals are immortal and master mashers of Pogos.

Nebulus has little to fault it, barring a lack of colour in the graphics and all that clambering back to the top when you've tumbled from a peak can be tiresome. But otherwise Nebulus is another tower of strength from Hewson.

Cunningly complex and well programmed, John Phillip's latest is the neatest and nattiest platform variant yet.

9/10
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Screenshot Text

The path might look solid - but sometimes it collapses.

Great balls of Nebulus! These white ones bounce and blow up. But the silver ones can just be stunned.

Pogo can't jump or walk and shoot at the same time. But he's got luvverly eyes.

Only three lives to start with - Pogo's not as blessed as a cat. One free with every 5000 points.

It doesn't matter how far you've got when the counter hits zero, O dear Pogo!

The sensation of climbing comes from the zippy 3-D rotational graphics.

Enter here ye brave of heart - who knows where you'll end up.