The Eidolon

by Tony Adams, Tony R. Porter, Ken Macklin
Activision Inc
Crash Issue 36, Jan 1987   page(s) 17

Producer: Activision
Retail Price: £7.99

More than a hundred years ago, Dr Josef Agon started experimenting into his own subconscious. The end result of these experiments was a strange machine called The Eidolon. Seated in this contraption he would venture into the innermost reaches of his psyche, and confront the hidden perils which resided there. However, Agon's experiments were shrouded in mystery, and he became a reclusive figure, living out the last years of his life holed up in his mansion and never seen.

A hundred years later his mansion remains the same, untouched since the good doctor's mysterious disappearance. However. whilst walking home one night you see that the mansion's rusted gates are open and that a strange light is emitting from within. As you start to explore the house you find the old Eidolon machine, and by its side is the Doctor's diary. Plagued with curiousity, you open the dusty volume and discover the secrets of the Eidolon.

The Eidolon is a spherical vehicle just big enough for a man to sit in. When in operation, it floats on the mind's energy waves. It is equipped with a multi-purpose catcher/cannon, which is used to blast any monster you might encounter, and also to collect the many energy jewels which float in your mind. To begin with, The Eidolon transports you to the first of the seven cave systems which comprise your mind. The machine can be guided through this system, searching out the perils within. At the bottom of the screen is the Eidolon's instrument panel. The top half of the screen shows the view as seen through the cockpit window. Three dimensional graphics depict the arched roof of the caverns as the action moves towards you.

Each level has an exit, but this is guarded by a monster. The key to this exit must be taken, and the monster annihilated by a quick blast from the energy bolts you carry. Then, the next level can be loaded from tape. The higher the level, the more difficult it becomes to kill these monsters.

Various things must be collected during your travels if you are to progress right up to the seventh level of your subconscious. Energy spheres boost the flagging power levels of your Eidolon. If you are close enough to an object, a diamond shaped force-field will appear. This signifies that The Eidolon can capture the object with the collector/discharger situated on its roof. Blue spheres freeze time, thus allowing you a longer roam around the caverns. When these blue fireballs are fired at a creature, it also freezes, and you gain extra time to consider the best way to destroy it.

The controls in the Eidolon are suitably Victorian in appearance. There is a hot/cold indicator which tells you how close The Eidolon is to a monster. Gem indicators show how many gems you have stolen from the guardians. There is a clock to the centre of the control board, showing how long you have been exploring your subconscious. The energy level shows how much of a pounding The Eidolon has taken from the monsters, and the digits at the bottom of the dashboard show how much time remains before you must return to the real world.


Control keys: up Q; down Z; left 9; right 0; fire N, M, CAPS, SYMBOL SHIFT; choose crystal 1-4; capture fireball/jewels X-B; pause P
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Keyboard play: pretty good
Use of colour: mainly monochrome
Graphics: large and well animated
Sound: tune and spot effects
Skill levels: seven
Screens: loads

This is just one of those games which doesn't really work on the Spectrum and that's a shame because the original concept is simply brilliant. The real problem lies in that Eidolon relies heavily on both colour and sound which on the Spectrum aren't exactly all that flexible. Hence we have a black'n' white Eidolon, rendering the game slightly dull in places. Its saving grace is the fact that it is quite fast, speeding up what could have otherwise been a rather dull and uninteresting game.

It's here and it's even faster than all the other versions (so you can hassle all your mates about having slow computers), but alas more than this I can't say. I found it tremendously difficult to actually get into the game and to play it successfully, perhaps after a large amount of practise it will grow on me but I'm not really prepared to play a game that annoys me for longer than I have to. The game has superb graphics save one thing, colour, this is understandably but drastically lacking. The sound is very good, there are a few effects during the game and a lovely tune on the title screen.

Wowee! The graphics on this are really something! The fractal effect on Rescue was limited, to say the least, but on the Eidolon, Activision have really let go. The effect of cavernous walls is quite claustraphobia-inducing, if that adjective can be applied to a Spectrum game. Eidolon is fairly playable, and addictive, dependent on whether the game style appeals to you or not.

Use of Computer: 79%
Graphics: 78%
Playability: 75%
Getting Started: 71%
Addictive Qualities: 75%
Value for Money: 74%
Overall: 76%

Summary: General Rating: Nice try at converting a game that was never suitable for the Spectrum.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 15, Mar 1987   page(s) 68


(Humming to the tune of the Third Man) ...Eidolee dolon dolon, eidolee dolon dolon... oh, please yourself.

The nice thing about Lucasfilm Games, like Rescue On Fractalus, Ballblazer and this new Eidolon thingy, is that the games designers actually try to get a little bit of a storyline into them. The documentation that comes with them usually contains a well written and imaginative scenario that sets the scene and tells you how things work.

In the cellar of a house, once the laboratory home of the eccentric Prof Josef Agon, you discover a fantastic machine, covered in dust. Upon reading the Prof's diaries, it turns out that the machine is a vehicle which can propel you to another dimension... Cor!

The forces of magic churn through the rickety frame of the old banger, allowing you to capture and shoot balls of magic. You must collect balls of various colours, and gems too, until you can beat the guardian dragons at the boundaries of each level.

The graphics on this game are nothing less than superb. Fractals are employed to create a realistic cave network, which can move in 3D and in real time! The animals and creatures in the caves are dangerous and require different techniques and combinations of balls to destroy them.

Unlike many games that're pretty but have no real gameplay Eidolon is a taxing and fast playing game, with a lot of strategy and some very nice effects.

Graphics: 9/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 54, Sep 1986   page(s) 32,33

Label: Activision
Author: Tony Adams
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Eidolon was always the best of the Fractals games on other machines. Things are no different on the Spectrum. Where Rescue on Fractalus uses the Fractal technique to create craggy landscapes, in Eidolon it generates rough stone walls and arches in a series of underground caverns.

The plot is also a vast improvement on Rescue on Fractalus. Eidolon isn't astoundingly complicated but has enough different features to keep you interested. More than that it has genuine style. The design of the graphics, the fractal landscapes, even the presentation of the instructions all mesh together to create the idea of a world of eccentric Victorian adventuring.

Someone in the Eidolon design team has obviously read H G Wells' The Time Machine because much of the character of the game is derived from that book. You follow the travels of Dr Josef Vincent Agon, a Victorian scientist whose diary tells of his strange adventures in 'The Eidolon', a device driven by the mystical powers of the mind. The mystical powers send you hurtling into a bizarre and terrifying world (don't they always) where around each next cavernous corner lurks an even more fearsome monster.

Put simply the game is this: guide the Eidolon around the mysterious caverns, collect the strange fireballs and discover what fireball kills what monster. Destroy all the combatants and you can take a crack at the dragon, head honcho in the monster department who guards the way into the next level. The assorted unpleasant beings you encounter can be destroyed by launching the correct coloured fireball, and the dragon barrier is removed by having collected the correct jewel.

Eidolon is part maze, part dodge and part reasoning game white at the same time being a Fractals demonstration.

The animation is limited but the excellence of design more than compensates.

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Overall: 5/5

Summary: Best of the Fractals games, beautifully converted to the Spectrum. Impressive original touches.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 76, Jul 1988   page(s) 65

Label: Ricochet
Author: Lucasfilm
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

This was the third Lucasfilm fractal graphics arcade adventure from Activision, and it's certainly worth getting on budget though I never thought much of it at full price.

You control a time and-space machine, the Eidolon, which transports you into an underground world of dragons, demons and mysterious treasures. While the instructions in this budget version are cut down to a silly extent, the main plot is simple. Make your way through the caverns, blast the dragons, collect diamonds and go on to the next level.

Correctly coloured jewels will open the appropriate barriers, including the one in front of the dragon which guards the gate to the next level. There are also three other monsters on each level, each one of which has to be lapped if you want to collect the jewel it guards.

Apart from the annoying multi-load, well worth a bash.

Overall: 79%

Summary: Re-released Activision title using fractal graphics in a complex maze game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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