The platform game is far from dead. Spike is the latest offering from Firebird in their budget Silver range, and the game is filled with ledges and platforms to leap between as you help star of the game, Spike, to make his way through the caverns of the Golden Dream World.
Spike is on a quest to find the Dream Sphere and then lead it to the Hall of Dreams where he can swap it for a reward of his choice and thus finish the game. As is always the case in such affairs, each cavern contains at least one Guardian of The Sphere, or mobile nasty whose only purpose is to remove a life from the intruder. Other static hazards, including fires and sharp pointy bits are scattered around the caverns and have to be circumvented.
Each screen has only one entrance and one exit, so you have to move through the game sequentially. The caverns are linked by corridors, and the screens are drawn Manic Miner fashion.
Spike himself is a tiny little guy with a pointed nose and-rounded stomach who scampers around the caves very quickly indeed, with his little legs spinning round in a blur. Apart from tucking his tootsies up into his body when he leaps. Spike performs no other animated trick and is without arms. This presents no problem however, as the Golden Sphere will follow his once found and need not be carried. Once he's found the sphere, it can still escape so the return journey needs to be conducted in a sober manner, without too many jolts to sever the link between the Sphere and Spike.
The caverns contain a variety of hidden switches, some of which reveal hidden platforms essential for Spike's safe progress through the chamber. Others contain keys which open doors for the little chap, hastening him on his way. At the bottom of the screen is a row of reserve Spikes when the active Spike loses a life a replacement marches promptly onto the screen and begins at the start of the cavern where the accident took place. There are only five little Spikes in a team, however, and once they're played out it's time for a new game.
'Spike is another in the never ending stream of arcade adventures. My main criticism with Spike is that he is too small - you would have thought that software companies would have learned by now that the public like big colourful characters. Never mind the colour clashes - that's why Wally was so successful. Spike is a very highly polished game, even right down to the excellent scream when the guy gets hit by a guardian. The constant clicking when Spike walks does become annoying after a while. H you're not a fan of Manic Miner type games or arcade adventures, then this one is unlikely to change your mind. But for £l.99, you can't complain.'
'There are some very sloppy parts to this otherwise very well programmed game. You can sometimes see where a platform is going to appear by walking behind it. It will cut off part of Spike until you move out of the way. Also, the very fast movement prevents fine manoeuvres unless a great deal of practice is put in. Some of the leaps needed have to be almost pixel perfect. The rest of the game I thought was very unimpressive. Far too much like Manic Miner and not enough new features. At £1.99, some will think this is good buy, but I find it a poor excuse for an outdated idea.'
'The game provides some fun - especially if it's a while since you played this kind of thing. It's old hat but harmless, unpretentious fun. I don't see why all the awful plots have to be put behind this kind of game. They add nothing and are often embarrassingly incongruous. I didn't mind playing this game and just for something different, I wouldn't mind buying it - but no more inane plots, please!'
: V left, B right, Space jumpJoystick
: keyboard onlyKeyboard play
: very responsiveUse of colour
: detailed, but smallSound
: one very good effect, otherwise mildly annoyingSkill levels
: General Rating:
Dated format, but pleasant all the same.
SPIKE meets an bug eyed monster in Firebird's game of the same name. SPIKE not Bug Eyed Monster, fools.