Sacred Armour of Antiriad is brilliant. It has all the elements necessary to make it a classic in the true sense of the word.
The graphics are stunning. The movement is super-smooth. The plot is semi-believable, and it's so easy to play.
Included in the package - as a bonus - is a rather splendid comic strip magazine telling the rather complicated storyline in an exciting way.
To cut a long story very short, a passive and peaceful society established on earth by the year 2086 has its idyllic existence shattered by an invasion of an alien attack force.
The populace are sent to work in the aliens' mines. Some rebelled, but one stood out as the most hardy and courageous. Named Tal, he was instructed by the elders to explore the land in search of the legendary item which humans worked so hard to perfect.
It turns out that the mystery object is... a teas-maid? No in fact it's a suit of armour, rendering the wearer impervious to just about any form of attack. As Tal your first objective is to find the armour, and then somehow overthrow the alien regime.
Antiriad is, on the surface, the same as many other games on the market. Dynamite Dan II springs to mind. You run left and right, jump on to platforms, generally behaving like a large number of other arcade-game heroes. In short, the gameplay is not what you'd describe as innovative.
But as soon as you start playing, the graphics will simply cause you to sit still and gaze at the screen. There is no time to lose, however, as the alien beings are only too quick other generally unpleasant things.
When you begin to move, things really become amazing. The character is pleasingly large, without being ridiculous. He's a little like the graphics seen in Gargoyle's Tir Na Nog, though maybe not quite as detailed. The animation though is superb. He runs around waving hair and all, and the way he jumps is particularly neatly done.
You quickly discover that you aren't going to get hold of the armour very easily, and you need a means of defending yourself - sharpish.
Picking on the most time-honoured tradition, rock-slinging is the best form of attack. (Fact: this dates back to times when the very first people roamed the earth, and is still in evidence today, at football grounds across the country.
Collect a few rocks and run around in a perfectly innocent manner, waiting for an alien to swagger up and attempt to alienate you. Then Tal can let fly with a truly impressive 'lob', causing a rock to be sent in whatever direction he pushes the joystick.
Once you've managed to get hold of the armour, the next problem is to seek out the various items which will make you even more magnificent - anti-grav boots, particle negator, pulser beam and implosion mine are the vital elements.
The implosion mine is more important that all of the others. This is the item which you need to destroy the alien's base.
You can play the game either a straight shoot-up by bunging rocks at the local blobs, or go all the way and start looking for the armour in earnest (or even in the jungle).
Despite being simple to grasp gameplay-wise, Antiriad offers considerable scope for exploration. It's a must for all mapping freaks. Graphics are tremendous, attribute problems though still noticeable are minimal and the whole feel is just right.
In short, it's very nearly faultless.
Author: Chris Stangroom, Dan Malone
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Antiriad is brilliant. It's a tried and tested gameplay, but it's the best platforms 'n' ladders since Dynamite Dan II.
HINTS AND TIPS
Get hold of some rocks as soon as possible!Head for the suit of armour, map its position, then zoom off to collect the bits.Avoid the aliens - obviously.Although you can run through them, it'll lower your energy level rather too quickly.