The Arc of Yesod

by Colin Grunes, Keith Tinman, Paul Salmon, Steve Wetherill, Stuart James Fotheringham, Gerry Fisher
Thor Computer Software
Crash Issue 26, Mar 1986   page(s) 129,130

Producer: Thor
Retail Price: £8.95
Author: The Thor Team

After the runaway success of Nodes of Yesod a sequel has finally arrived from the Liverpudlian demigods (Thor/Odin) in the form of Arc of Yesod. Once more the star of the show is the Rt Hon Charlemagne 'Charlie' Fortheringham-Grunes, the man who battled bravely against the black slab Monolith in Nodes. Though he battled bravely Charlie lost the contest, and the Monolith teleported offworld to escape destruction. Luckily the ionic destruction caused by the Monolith's hasty departure allowed it to be traced to its place of origin: Ariat, a strange alien planet.

Earth is still in danger - if the people of Ariat manage to download the information gathered by the Monolith, they will no doubt take advantage of the detailed knowledge it contains and attack Earth itself. They are believed to have constructed a massive battle cruiser capable of taking out most of the Galaxy. A shuttle, hurriedly prepared, transports Charlie to Ariat. Once again Charlie has been charged with saving life as we know it - his job is disarm and destroy the Monolith before the Ariatans can retrieve the information it contains.

Paradropping onto Ariatan soil, Charlie finds himself skulking on the outskirts of the city where the Monlith is held. He needs to find some way of reaching the device.... the game begins.

Charlie's best line of attack is to get underground and travel to the Security Centre via the large network of caverns and caves that nestle below the city. The surface view of Ariat shows the city in the background set against the night sky. As Charlie moves off the left or right of a screen, a new screen flicks into view. Small manholes are dotted around the city, and Charlie must use them to gain access to the subterranean world in which most of the action takes place.

Charlie is an agile fellow, who can leap and bound quite deftly in the low gravity environment of Ariat. 'Jump'sends our hero skyward into a forward somersault spin, to land firmly on his feet. In conjunction with the left and right keys, this is Charlie's main method of transport - useful when moving around the ledge filled caverns of Ariat. With a few well-timed sproings and cavorts it's possible to negotiate most of the constructions and obstructions found underground. A teleporter system exists within the labyrinth, and Charlie can zoom between locations by stepping into one of the strategically placed teleport units.

Apart from static obstacles, there are mobile nasties that take some dodging. A whole range of strange and weird beasties can be found in the caves, and some nasties float in the atmosphere, while others trog about on the floor. The floor-trogging species of baddie tends to be pretty indestructible. If Charlie walks into one of them he's bounced all over the cave interior. Airfloaters disintegrate when touched but, like the ground animals, contact with one costs Charlie some of his essential life energy. He's got four lives, each if which is lost after too much energy has been sapped encounters with aliens. A little sine wave pulsing up and down next to the life counter shows how much of the current life's energy remains, and the readout becomes smaller with each clash with the flora and fauna.

A Sphere, or Electronic Mole, fights on Charlie's side. The Sphere is released from Charlie's backpack and can be controlled left, right, up and down. While the Sphere is under your control, Charlie remains immobile. This gadget is a worthy ally, capable of despatching the nasties by bashing into them. It can also open the secret passages that lie behind some walls by bumping into the masonry which conceals them. Charlie's armoury contains Smart Bombs that wipe out most of the baddies in the current cave on detonation.

Charlie needs to gather up eight crystals before he can have a go at dealing with the Monolith - the poor chap's certainly got his work cut out...


Control keys: 1-0 to change control between the Sphere and Charlie, alternate keys on bottom row for left/right, Q-P Sphere up or jump for Charlie, A-L Sphere down or drop Smart Bomb, ENTER to pause game
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor and Interface II
Keyboard play: fast, responsive and accurate
Use of colour: cleverly conceived colour scheme avoids colour clash
Graphics: pretty backdrops coupled with excellent animation creates a pleasing effect
Sound: great, but muted - title tune, but not many game effects
Skill levels: 1

There really isn't a lot of difference between Nodes and Arc. The changes are few and far between - most notable is the enhancement on the graphics: the animated figures are larger and more detailed and the quality of the actual animation is a great deal better than in Nodes. Arc is quite a jolly game, nevertheless, interesting to play and enjoyable to map. Most arcade adventurers will surely enjoy this challenge. Even so, owners of Nodes might well feel a little cheated if they shell out ten quid for a game that, in effect, they already own.

'Brilliant' sums up my opinion of Arc of Yesod. The graphics, as in Nodes, are great with loads of detail and no spared colour. Sound is a little on the meagre side, maybe, but the intro music is a real ear-opener, especially when amplified. In looks it's very similar to its predecessor - Charlie hasn't aged a bit - and the game is both playable and addictive. I missed Brookside to play it, a real sacrifice! The packaging is very good and the blurb summarises Charlie's experiences in Nodes rather well. It just goes to prove that follow-ups aren't always worse than the originals, as has happened in some cases recently.

I think I must have overplayed Nodes of Yesod because I'm not very impressed with this one. Graphically, this game has the same sort of backgrounds and characters as Nodes. Your man is the same fellow as in Nodes, although his little companion has changed. All the graphics are large, well drawn and well animated and there is very little colour clash. The sound is a pleasure - a lovely three channel simulation in the tune with the title screen and a few burps and beeps during the game itself. Gameplay is exactly the same as in Nodes, so it can't be called original. If, like me, you've got Nodes and have become bored to death with it, I wouldn't bother with this one. If, on the other hand, you are Nodeless I strongly recommend Arc as you'd find it very playable and addictive.

Use of Computer: 91%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 92%
Getting Started: 91%
Addictive Qualities: 84%
Value for Money: 86%
Overall: 89%

Summary: General Rating: A great little game, very much the follow on to Nodes of Yesod - maybe too similar.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 5, May 1986   page(s) 75

Thor Computer Software

Doooiiing! He got the motion, he got the action, man, the boy can play. Arc's just the thing for all those who've got a cold in the nodes. It's the Rt. Hon. Charlemagne Fotheringham-Grunes back in his somersaulting splendour, bouncing through Thor's beautifully detailed flicker-free graphics, collecting crystals and generally dealing with one of those teleporting alien monoliths that frequent films like 2010.

Things haven't changed much since Nodes Of Yesod - it's still the split pixel, platform-leaping, nasty-avoiding bizarre that makes you think that there's lots of life left in the platform game. If you've got Nodes, the only reason to buy this is if you like it so much that you want to carry on in a slightly different variation. If you missed out on the original, you're missing out on one heck of a game.

Personally, I'm completely hopeless at both games. I can't make head nor tail of the wacky inlay card (who do these guys think they are - Ultimate?) and I keep falling into the same inescapable room with awful regularity. But winning has nothing to do with it... I just love the way Charlie moves and am quite happy to sit there jumping up and down till my lives run out. Fab'n'gear... get into this Arc next time it starts raining.

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

Award: Your Sinclair Hot Shot

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 50, May 1986   page(s) 56,57

Publisher: Thor
Programmers: Thor
Price: £8.95
Memory: 128K and 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, cursor

Another tired cry of 'Save the Earth!' and Charlemagne 'Charlie' Fotheringham-Grunes leaps into a spaceship for the fourth time to destroy the elusive monolith - an alien eavesdropping device.

The Arc of Yesod, sequel to Nodes of Yesod - Sinclair User, August 85 - takes Charlie's adventures one step further. Having failed to get rid of the giant stone slab in Nodes, Charlie is given another chance and this time finds himself on the planet Ariat.

Both Nodes and Arc are very similar in storyline and gameplay, and other than the addition of speech and sound the 128K versions of both are practically identical to the 48K originals.

And now for the game. Drop down manholes into a maze of subterranean caves and chasms to search for alchiems - the keys to a successful mission. With luck those will neutralise the monolith, providing you can get to it in time.

While searching the caves take care not to bump into any aliens - you'll lose energy at an alarming rate if you do. The patrolling nasties have several characteristics: floaters tend to make you lose energy but disappear on contact, chickens and mechanical objects patrolling the levels send you tumbling out of control when touched, and red creatures reverse your controls - rather like the purple flower in Sabre Wulf.

Each section of the maze is distinctive in its scenery, and each differs in size and the number of chasms and ledges to jump down and explore. If you find a teleport machine, leap into its beam and - on the 128 - you'll hear a muffled 'Beam me up' as you are launched into space and to another section of the maze. There you might find a new alchiem.

The cassette inlay is not much help when it comes to working out what to do. However, hidden in the menu screen is a smidgeon of information in a dreadful rhyme. If you wait long enough the scrolling line starts to roll. 'Charlies on the job once more, searching for a secret door... Collect the keys and he will be able, to keep the earth's future safe and stable,' and so on. What keys? I didn't see any, but perhaps it means the alchiems.

Like Nodes, your somersaulting spaceman has a little extra help. In your backpack is a sphere - like the mole in Nodes - which can be taken out and used to open hidden doors in walls and kill off any nasties. In addition, there is a smart bomb which eliminates nearly all the aliens on a screen.

It may be the fault of our television, but the 128 speech sounded as if it were coming from the bottom of a deep pit. When Charlie falls a long way the TV comes up with an unintelligable splutter. If you listen hard you'll decipher 'ouch!' or 'that hurt'. However, the 128 music more than makes up for any limitations in the sound. It is very professional and the opening jingle has a definite disco beat which had me jigging in my seat for a minute or two (not a pretty sight. Ed). Thankfully, you can turn the sound down - an added bonus as it mutes Charlie and his pleas for help.

Graphics, sound and movement are excellent. You may think twice about getting it if you already have Nodes, but if it's a sequel you're after, then Arc does offer a new, if similar challenge.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 6, Jun 1986   page(s) 73


And so they came - the first trickle of 128 games. Sinclair cleverly made sure that the software was there, ready for the new machine. But most of the first releases have been expanded versions of existing titles, and we all know, don't we, that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better? After all, it's what you do with it that counts. So here it is - the highly personal, Rachael J Smith guide to those first ten releases.


Nodes Of Yesod was something of a classic in its 48K version - not because of great sophistication or great complexity but because of its charm and good humour. I mean, any game that has you tunneling through the moon with a rock eating mole has to be something special! I'm not sure if the expanded version has added to the size of the caverns but it really scores in its use of music and sound effects. The tunes are catchy and the 'Burp' of your ill-mannered miner after chewing the green cheese is a nice touch. Newcomers to the Spectrum should certainly have this.

Arc was seen as merely more of the same, with a robot sphere instead of a rodent assistant. Actually it adds a zapping element and the game seems to play rather faster. Still, unless you're a real fan of the original it's hardly a big enough leap for its hero, Rt Hon Charlemagne Fotheringham-Grunes, despite the zero gravity. I found that it kept returning to the opening screen for no apparent reason.

So there they are, ten offerings for the 128. All benefit from having their amplified sound blasted out through the TV, and where the new sound chip has been used to full effect it's like suddenly being able to hear after years of deafness. But while there are things here to appeal to the person who's never owned a Spectrum before, I can't see much point in duplicating a game unless you were a big fan of the original. And that means that we're not yet in a position to say whether the 128 itself is worth buying. We'll have to wait until games that make full use of that extra memory - that do things that can't be achieved in 48K - appear before we all decide to trade in our old machines.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB