"Twin World is a praiseworthy arcade game. Very attractive, humorous, beautiful, strategic, of a very good playability. It is provided with music and sound effects of extremely good quality creating a game of the highest interest."
Nothing like a quote from the instructions to kick off a review, eh, Spec-chums? It certainly saves a few headaches at this end, I can tell you. As you may have gathered, Twin World is a French game so we're probably in for a fair dose of the customary weirdness. It popped up on the 16-bit computers a while back, and went down a treat. So let's take a look at the plot, eh?
Right, the game is set in Twin World ("a very special world to be visited immediately" we're told) where there once lived a group of people called the Gaspards. They were looked after by another bunch of people called the Carikens. and everything was fine until one day an evil druid called Maldur (which translates from the French as Not Very Well Hard, I think) came along and invaded them. Most of the Carikens were slaughtered and their magic amulet was stolen, smashed up into 23 pieces and scattered around all over the place. You can probably guess what's coming next. Yup, you survived so now you've got to collect the pieces and save the world etc.
Load it up and you'll see a scrolling side-view lobby with a suspiciously cute little character (called Ulopa) who can walk about, jump, duck, stamp his feet and fire little blobs (from a choice of three different sorts). There's a nicely detailed, but monochromatic, landscape to wander around, platforms to jump onto, things to shoot and, of course, things to collect. Nothing weird about that really. But hang on a minute, there's a door over there. Let's go through it. On crikey, the screen's changed colour and we seem to be underground or something. Very strange. Let's go through this door over here. Cor - we're back where we started, but a bit further on!
It turns out that what you've got to do is work your way through each level, flipping between the two 'worlds' when necessary, pick up a bit of the amulet and take it to the exit. Every four levels there's a big baddie to kill, but being as crap as ever I didn't quite get that far. I did, however, come across a dragon thing (on the first two levels, ahem) which took a bit of beating - when it's shot it flies apart into lots of baby dragons. It took me about three days to actually get off Level One, as the bit of amulet is pretty tricky to find until you know what it looks like. (And if you think I'm going to give you any clues, forget it, Why should I suffer alone?)
And there another thing. When you shoot baddies you'll be able to collect add-ons, like extra-high-jumps and things. These need to be brought into action at key points in the game, but you may occasionally find that you haven't got quite what you need at various points. If this happens you're meant to be able to conjure up a 'shop' where things like this can be bought. But could I figure out how to make it work? Nope.
So is Twin World actually any good? Well, the graphics are. They're only in one colour, mind, but what's there is neatly drawn and smoothly scrolling. The only slight problem is that it can be just a little bit tricky to tell what's going on at times. For instance, it's a bit hard to tell the difference between water and solid ground. One kills you and the other doesn't. which is quite an important distinction when you think about it. And there's the sound, which consists of quite a good tune and some neat spot effects. But apart from all that, is it actually worth looking at? Yes, to be quite honest. It's extremely playable, the speed everything happens at is just about right and there's enough variety to keep things rolling along nicely. It is possible to crash it, though. If you go off the right-hand side of the first level. Oops. In fact, I've just got onto Level Three, so I'm going to give it an even higher rating than I originally had in mind. I'm that chuffed.
A straightforward but extremely enjoyable little number which grows on you until it almost bursts.
Twin World has some fairly okay-ish background graphics, but it's a pity they're all the same colour. This is the underground bit (a nice Hell-ish red) while upstairs it's a pretty yellow.
Here's our hero, the rather ludicrously-named Ulopa, a suspiciously cute little fellow with a big head, big feet and not much else. He fires little blob things (a choice of three sorts), though they tend to go all over the place a bit.What's all this lot then? Well, it seems like we've got 180 points, one key, a bell (?), three star thingies, a clock and some, erm, other stuff. (I think).Blimey! What on earth is that? (It seems to be some sort of flying banana skin or something.)
Hurrah! It looks like Ulopa's found a picnic table. It must be time to stop the quest and have a quick snack instead!
Watch out for that little demon thing on the bottom right there - he's very hard to kill and tricky to jump over or avoid.