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Linel
1990
Arcade: Adventure
£10.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Unspecified custom loader

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20
Jon Pillar
Chris Bourne

Have you ever thought at all deeply about the titles of sequels? There are some that are really quite nonsensical. The epoch of absurdity has to be The NeverEnding Story 2 How can something that never ends have a sequel? They should have called it A Bit More Of The NeverEnding Story. Or Never Again, or something.

Before we get down to the game itself I'm obliged to fill you in on the background story. Alas, we haven't got room for the appropriate richly embroidered prose, so here's the cut-down version. There's this book, see, and it's a direct link to the worlds of imagination. A dude named Bastian Balthazar Bux found the book and crossed over to the Nth Dimension, had loads of neat adventures and in the process saved the dream world from the deadly Nothing. But now the Nothing has struck again, so Bastian has to go back and settle its danged hash once and for all.

Phew. Right - the game. I have to admit that I don't have any instructions, which makes things substantially trickier, But in the interests of fair play, I'll just grit my teeth and plunge on ahead. As far as I can make out from the first level, the game is a horizontally-scrolling platform affair, with a touch of the ol' mazey bits thrown in.

You start in Silver City, with baddies erupting out of the floors around you. You can run, climb staircases, and if the baddies are facing away from you, jump past them. Additionally, if they're at the end of a platform then Bastian can bung them off into the sea. Hurrah! The idea to find a rope that will enable you to climb to Level Two, and to do this you have to explore the platforms, occasionally ducking through doors to get "behind" the scenery. The other levels (I think there are seven altogether) follow much the same pattern, with some 3D chase scenes and vertically-scrolling tower-climbing thrown in.

So, what have we got? Well, the graphics are nice, and stand out well despite the detailed backgrounds. There's a fair bit of tension as you sprint along, never sure if a nasty is going to pop out of the ground in front of you, but the trouble is, the game doesn't really grab your attention. There's really nothing to get the old gameplayer's juices flowing and, to put it bluntly, it's dull as heck. Even with the extra features and viewpoints of the later levels, we've seen if all before. If you're into the whole NES phenomena you could conceivably have a jolly time, but for those of us after a thundering good game I'm afraid that it's time to look elsewhere.

It ties in well with the film. And it looks quite nice. But it doesn't actually do much, does it?

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BLIM!

The NeverEnding Story is a famous German fantasy novel, and an entertaining one at that. It's only spoiled when you get to the last page and realise they were lying all along.

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Whenever he found himself in a tight spot, Natty would perform a quick Gay Gordon to cunningly confuse his assailants.