Chimera

Reviewed by Paul Rixon

 

Issue 29

Sep/Oct 87

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Firebird

1.99 cassette

1 player
1 joystick

 

 

 

 


Firebird established themselves as a major UK software house creating 'cheapo' games for those who had not yet discovered the unrivalled power of Atari. 1985 saw the production of their first Atari releases, one of which was an arcade adventure called CHIMERA in the style popularised by Ultimate's Alien 8 on the Spectrash. Now they have added a new dimension to re-release mania by resurrecting CHIMERA, previously a 3.95 'budget' game in their Super Silver range but now demoted to plain Silver status at the ridiculously low price of 1.99.

If you missed the story first time around, let me guide you through. As luck would have it, you have managed to get lumbered with the unenviable job of saving the earth from total annihilation (yet again!). The problem seems to be that an incoming alien vessel looks set to pulverize life as we know it, unless of course you can prevent this happening by activating the vessel's conveniently inbuilt self destruct mechanism and (preferably) escaping prior to its detonation. If you are thinking 'that doesn't sound like the easiest task in the universe' then you would be dead right! The game begins with a warning that it will not be solved quickly and if you manage to complete it within a month then you must be some kind of freak. I do not doubt these claims for a minute!

You control the somewhat sensitive movements of Chimera (Could be one of R2D2's relatives) around an astounding three dimensional complex of rooms and corridors which have to be explored if you are to collect all of the necessary items, including loaves of bread and mugs of water to top up your food and liquid supplies. The graphics here are excellent, especially the intricate detail of your Chimera.

The lower half of the screen displays information on the state of your health, the current object being carried and the score, which is calculated according to the number of problems you have solved. Above this is a scrolling message indicator that keeps you informed on the the latest gossip and provides assistance should you request it from computer terminals which appear throughout the complex.

Added difficulties arise in the form of water-sapping radiators, electro-static barriers, hidden objects and that damned irritating thumping noise in the background! Drawing up a map of the complex is absolutely essential. There is no save game feature so it will be necessary to plot the positions of bread, water and other artifacts for future reference. Pause mode deserves a mention, there is a super 'rainbow' graphics demo accompanied by some good quality music.

Compared with Mastertronic's Molecule Man which runs along similar lines, CHIMERA comes up tops in my book. Don't expect a fast paced action game, but be prepared for a real challenge. At 'normal' prices it would be a good buy. At under two pounds, you can't go wrong!
 

Paul Rixon

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