£9.95 cass, joystick
O Incredibly absorbing, addictive, original arcade-adventure
175-screen playing area with atmospheric graphics,
Moving platforms, magic whip, controllable torch,
gongs, pools, invisibility, etc
the cassette reaches the end and loading nears completion,
you say to yourself 'I wonder if Ultimate have done
it again?'. Once the game has finally loaded and you've
pressed the fire button to start, your heart sinks and
you think: 'They haven't -- it's Karnath revisited'.
they have and it isn't. You soon find that getting out
of the first location isn't quite so simple as you initially
thought. When, hours later, you've fully explored and
sussed the first few levels, you realise that Entombed
is one of the most original and entertaining aardvarks
(arcade-adventures) ever to hit the 64 (or any other
machine, come to think of it).
game retains the character of Sir Arthur Pendragon and
some of the graphics from Staff of Karnath, but
any similarities stop there. Whereas Karnath
was relatively small, Entombed is large and complex
-- the total playing area is some 175 screens in size.
Whereas Karnath included puzzles made difficult
purely by being obscure, the puzzles in Entombed
have logical and sometimes spectacular solutions. Indeed,
the kick you'll get from sussing parts of this game
is about as great as any computer game will ever give
action is set in an ancient Egyptian tomb, from which
Sir Arthur must escape. It has the same basic appearance
as Karnath, except that everything has an Egyptian
flavour. Highly detailed and authentic 3D background
scenery adorns every location -- complete with some
excellent hieroglyphics which lend an incredible atmosphere
to the game. The sprites used, unfortunately, are of
the same quality as Karnath, ie fairly large
and crude, but with some great animation -- just watch
Sir Arthur jump!
green bird has got to be the key to this
puzzling room, but isn't the glowing egg it
carries dangerous . . .?
tomb has several levels, each composed of a network
of corridors and antechambers, the corridors having
many turnings and dead ends. Various nasties frequent
the corridors and devious puzzles lie within the chambers.
While in the corridors, Sir Arthur can breathe freely.
When in one of the chambers on the other hand, there
is a limited supply of air to breathe and this is indicated
by a percentage displayed on screen. Should he stay
in one room for too long and the air percentage should
reach zero, then one complete life will be lost (you
start with five).
Contact with any form of nasty will deplete one of your
lives by a certain amount. Each life starts off displayed
as white, and this gets gradually darker until the life
is lost. Needless to say, once all five lives are lost
the game is over. However, every fifth crow which flies
overhead carries life-giving 'ankh', which you may be
able to jump and grab.
3D viewpoint is the same as that in Karnath:
a sort of cut away side-on view of a location is shown.
As before, when moving left or right the screen scrolls
smoothly in the same direction, to follow the action.
It's also possible to move 'in' and 'out' of the screen
as in Karnath, except this time a slightly different
approach is used: When you're in a left/right corridor
and you move into one of the passages visible, going
into or out of the screen, the viewpoint flicks round
by 90 degrees. So, instead of showing a view of you
walking into the screen, you are shown moving across
the screen again, with the passage you just left now
at right-angles to the screen.
shuffling of viewpoints can prove difficult to get to
grips with at first, and makes mapping awkward. But
needless to say, as with most aardvarks, without a map
you're liable to become hopelessly lost (which is why
we're printing ours overleaf.)
Arthur is controlled in the same manner as before --
with the joystick plus occasional use of the space-bar
-- only this time there are no spells used to perform
functions such as fighting and moving things. Instead,
the space-bar is used to select one of three actions:
jump, use the magical whip, or use the torch. Pressing
the fire button will then perform the action currently
displayed, although the latter two can be used only
after you've found the relevant equipment. The whip
is easily found on the first level, but the torch isn't
quite so easy to get (sorry, no clues).
are a number of objects to be found within the chambers,
should you solve the puzzles surrounding them. All of
these are useful, if only to help you obtain other,
more important objects. It's a very long sequence of
events before you find the object you need to escape
the tomb and end the game.
of the chambers are tough to crack and so some helpful
clues are provided throughout the game. These clues
come in the form of cryptic hints on scrolls and aren't
given away just like that. No, they're obtained in the
same way as the objects -- with difficulty! When you
actually find a scroll, the clue on it is displayed
at the top of the screen for a couple of seconds.
how did Sir Arthur get that statue to move
away from the room exit? By jumping??!?
sound effects are fairly good, but nothing to get excited
about, although there is the occasional good and rather
unusual one. The game loads in the same annoying manner
as Karnath -- it stops half way through loading
to play a reasonable piece of authentic sounding music
and won't continue to load any further until you press
is the case with all Ultimate games, the packaging is
of a high standard and the instructions atmospheric
but deliberately obscure (although I must say these
were some of the more helpful Ultimate instructions
I've come across). The scene is set with an intriguing
explanation as to why Sir Arthur is in the predicament
he's in and there's the usual tantalising list of game
only real criticism of the game, applies to all aardvarks,
indeed all adventures. Getting stuck can be almost unbearably
frustrating, and once solved, you may not want to return
there is a clock which means you can always to solve
it in a shorter time -- and in any case, you won't complete
the game without first enjoying many, many hours of
classy, demanding, atmospheric, exhilarating action.
The tomb inhabitants
Materialise in the corridors and fly back and forth
in a predictable up and down pattern for a short time.
Unless whipped or avoided, will deplete your lives.
Materialise in a similar manner to the above, only pace
back and forth along the corridor, arms outstretched,
causing problems unless dealt with or avoided.
Appear in the same fashion as the Mosquito etc., only
these don't harm you. Fly from left to right until they
dematerialise at the edge of the screen, occasionally
carrying a life-enhancing 'Ankh'.
Appear on the floor of the corridors and scuttle after
you, depleting your life force should one hit you. Whip
it or skip it.
Found in some of the anterooms. Move predictably back
and forth along pathways, and must be jumped or avoided
to prevent partial loss of a life.
Found in an anteroom very deep in the tomb. Move back
and forth above ground in a similar way to snakes, only
they flash lightning periodically. Should you be touching
the cloud when this happens, your lives will suffer.
Only found in certain antechambers. Some roll along
pathways and harm on contact, whilst others can be moved
in one way or another.
There are various authentic-looking statues of Egyptian
Gods, obelisks, bull-heads, and sarcophagi scattered
about the place, none of which harm you, but some of
which block vital doorways.
The original features
of the main things that sets aside from all other currently
available arcade-adventures is the number of highly
original features it contains:
WHIP. Not only is it used to dispose of any nasties
you might encounter, but also to move objects around.
TORCH. Just wait till you see it in action! Some of
the rooms are in complete darkness, and it's only possible
to tell what's in them by having, and using, the torch.
You can actually guide a realistically revealing torch
beam around the room and see what you are missing! The
effect is stunning.
Used in a couple of instances to make things a lot harder.
In one room you're made totally invisible and have to
find your way through a winding footpath, collect an
object in order to leave the room, and then find your
way back again!
POOLS. There are three of these in one room -- one is
deadly, one turns you invisible, the other makes you
visible again. You have o figure out how to use these
pools to get through the room and deeper into the tomb.
This is a closed coffin, found in several rooms and
containing an abject. The problem is how to open it.
In one such room there's a sun on one side and a moon
on the other, a jar and a green bird that flies past
dropping glowing 'objects'. If one of the objects lands
on you, then you lose energy -- so what are they for?
Aha . . . .
These appear in one incredibly atmospheric room -- there
are four of them (making brilliantly effective wailing
noises) along with a coffin, which is too high for you
to reach. As soon as you step towards it, the ghosts'
cry increases in pitch until you get too close, when
they zoom in towards you, knocking off energy until
they get you. Solving this room will send your pulse
rate into three figures.
PLATFORMS. They appear in several rooms and are a key
to solving puzzles. The problem is how you get them
Some rooms feature sliding gates, which fall behind
you. You then have to work out how to get through, or
get back out.
These form the basis of another great puzzle. Ring 'em
right (they have a wonderful ringing tone), or you won't