House Of Usher

Reviewed by Jim Short


Issue 27

May/Jun 87

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Midas/ Kingsoft

48K cassette

1 player

1 joystick







HOUSE OF USHER is an Atari first (I think!) from Midas Software and takes it's name from that infamous tale of horror by Edgar Allen Poe.

It's a platform game vaguely similar to Miner 2049er and, indeed, the main character looks a lot like our old friend Bounty Bob dressed up in a pixie-suit (A pixie suit? ..... oh well, it takes all sorts!!).

Pixie Bob starts off in a vast Reception Hall containing nine doors. Each door gives him access to a further nine rooms and the idea is to work your way through these rooms, negotiating the various hazards involved to complete the overall puzzle and, eventually, escape into the sanity of the outside world.

The 'fiendish challenges' devised by the 'twisted minds of deranged madmen' are all pretty routine stuff and you won't find anything you haven't encountered before in many other games of this type. In fact, the biggest challenge involves trying to get Pixie Bob safely off the top of a ladder without sliding all the way down to his doom. It appears to be a 'bug' in the program, but if it's included by design then I'm definitely not amused!

The graphics are fairly simple (ladders & levels set against a familiar black background), the sound effects reasonable enough for this type of game, and the theme music tuneful if somewhat repetitive - it sounds like a scrambled version of 'Jingle Bells' to my ears, but if someone decides it's 'Prelude in B Minor from Mendelhoven's Unfinished Chorale Symphony' then it'll do for me!!

A couple of points worth noting. The cassette inlay features a hi-res screenshot of an eerie, moonlit House Of Usher, but it's not part of the Atari version as far as I know. Pity that. Also, the instructions advise you to 'CLOAD' the cassette hinting that it's a Basic program. Midas are doing the game a great injustice here with what amounts to a major 'misprint'. Please ignore it as the game is an auto-boot, 100% machine-code game.

No prices accompanied the review copy. As a budget game(?) it's a good effort. Not in the same class as Firebird and Mastertronic's best but it's early days yet. Check it out.