Realm of Impossibility

Reviewed by Jim Short


Issue 21

May/Jun 86

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Electronic Arts/Ariolasoft

48K disk 12.95 

1/2 players






Anyone remember a game called ZOMBIES by Bram Incorporated? Bram are no longer in existence but Electronic Arts have taken Zombies, spruced it up a bit, added a few more levels and re-released it under the title REALM OF IMPOSSIBILITY.

The game (in both it's guises) is a 3-D dungeons & ladders game featuring a crudely defined, nameless character whose task it is to recover the seven crowns of the middle kingdom which have been stolen by an evil cleric called Wistrik and scattered throughout his dungeon stronghold.

There are 13 dungeons in all, each with it's own individual name. Some dungeons are locked others are not. Some contain the seven crowns whilst others contain keys to gain access to the locked dungeons. An options screen allows you to choose your starting dungeon, providing you stick to the unlocked variety.

All 13 dungeons are inhabited by creatures hell bent on your destruction - zombies (hence the original name of the game), spiders, snakes and killer orbs. You begin with a set number of 'Hit Points' and each time a creature contacts you, your points are reduced accordingly. If your hit points reach zero the game is over. Mercifully, you have a couple of 'secret weapons' at your disposal. Magic Crosses are undoubtedly the most useful. You drop these by pressing the fire button and they keep the creatures at bay for vital seconds - just long enough to put some distance between you and the nasties. You also have the ability to cast spells which either freeze or confuse the creatures. However, in order to cast a spell you must first stand perfectly still, hold down the fire button and then push the joystick in the desired direction. With a host of deadly creatures snapping at your heels the last thing you want to do is stand perfectly still and the only safe way to cast a spell is when the creatures are nowhere near you, which is a chronic waste of a good spell! As an alternative you can use the space bar although this is still not very satisfactory. Incidentally, you gain extra spells by collecting the magic scrolls which are dotted about here and there, but why bother when the spells are about as much use as a used teabag anyway?

Each dungeon is beautifully drawn in intricate 3-D and the author must have taken months to design them all. What a pity the rest of the game doesn't match up. A two player co-operative mode does little to haul gameplay above the mediocrity level. Animation, particularly of the main character, is crude and downright unprofessional, the use of colour leaves a lot to be desired and, quite honestly, the whole game looks dated and completely out of touch with what is happening in the software world right now.

Both Electronic Arts and Ariolasoft have been responsible for bringing some top quality software to these shores. Bearing that in mind, I therefore can't see the attraction of this game. If only Ariolasoft would release the likes of Broderbund's KARATEKA. Now that would be something!!!