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Monday, 4 October 2010

The Eidolon (Commodore 64)

When I look through old copies of ZZAP! 64 (or as is more likely these days, scans on the PC), I see some fantastic games mentioned, many of which I've played, many of which I've loved. There have been some great games over time, and some fantastic software houses. One which stood right alongside the best of them was Lucasarts... and yet, I've probably totalled about 30 minutes' combined play on their four classic games. Madness. And time to put that right...

Awww. So cute. KILL IT WITH FIRE!

If one of those Lucasarts games captured my imagination from the review, it was The Eidolon. It looked stunning... a network of caves inhabited by some truly fabulous looking creatures. And yet, for some reason, I never got around to playing it. There was a time when we nearly had it in our house, but I'll go into that another time...

The blurb mentions that you find a machine that transports you... INTO YOUR OWN MIND! That explains why it's all grey and sludgy, then. Using this incredible machine, you must voyage around the caverns of your mind, looking for a way out. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as all that, as your mind plays host to all kinds of fascinating creatures... and they don't take kindly to your interruption. In fact, if you get too close, they're likely to attack.

Oh, come on. Is that any way to treat visitors?

You're not defenceless... well, it would be stupid to go anywhere dangerous unprepared. Your machine can fire fireballs of four different colours, each colour having different effects on the creatures. Red fireballs are standard blasters, but blue will freeze time, and green will transform your enemy into something different. It's a bit of a gamble, this one... you might end up facing something more powerful! You can also collect fireballs and gems, which is useful.

There's a tremendous atmosphere to The Eidolon. Although the sound is sparse and more often than not consists of white noise effects, it's all that's needed. What sort of noises would you expect to hear inside your mind, anyway? Well, I suppose there could be an Yngwie Malmsteen album in mine... but you could always play music in another program while you're playing the game.

Now that one really is a mean looking bastard. Best be careful...

Although it can be a bit clunky to play during fights, it's still intense, especially when you're up against an end-level dragon and you're firing and trying to collect its fireballs at the same time. I can definitely see why this was so highly rated at the time. It's a great concept, and not like anything else I played back then, and I can't think of much like it since. It's another game that could be great if remade. I'm not very good at it, but I've just found out how to beat some of the later dragons, so I'm going to head back in later...

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