Retail Price: £3.95
Language: Machine code
Author: S Ahmad
New from Firebird's Super Silver range is Chimera, an arcade adventure set upon a large Flying Dutchman look alike spaceship. A strange ghost ship has appeared far above the earth and placed itself in orbit over the USA. Apparently, its weapons are trained on Earth, so America, thoughtful and caring nation that it is, has decided to destroy the ghost ship. Placed around the ship are a number of warheads, all of which need to be primed before they can be activated. You have been sent upon a one man mission to prime the warheads and activate the destruction sequence to blow bits of the spaceship all over sunny America. Not a trivial task for a single operative, (or who for what)ever placed the ship into orbit also placed many barriers in the way of anyone trying to activate the warheads. Your first problem is to get past an electric fence. Hint: wander about the maze and you will soon find a spanner that can be used to manually deactivate electric fences.
Displayed from a very Alien 8 point of view, Chimera uses the now trendy Ultimate style of graphics. The main sprite has to be rotated until it points in the direction you want to move, then moved. Along with the directional controls there's also a grab/use key for picking up and using handy objects found around the derelict hull. An scrolling message indicator is also included and provides a running commentary on what's happening. If you do cop it in your quest, then it'll even give a short analysis as to you why you died.
Death is waiting for you in many shapes and sizes. Grabbing certain objects can end the game rather quickly - if you reach for an activated electric fence, for instance, and you don't have the spanner then you'll have to start again. And radiators lap up your limited water reserves. You have a limited quantity of provisions when you set out on your mission, and it has to be completed before they run out. There's no mistaking when you get killed either, as the computer yells out a hefty synthesised scream.
Upon activating the warheads you then have a limited amount of time to return to your start position before the bombs go off. Naturally you want to save yourself as well as the rest of the world. Get back to home and the game's over and everyone lives happily ever after.
Control keys: Z, C, B, M rotate left, X, V, N, SYMBOL SHIFT rotate right, A to ENTER move forward, Q to P collect/use, CAPS SHIFT or SPACE to pause game
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: Very Responsive
Use of colour: Reasonable
Sound: Good sound effects
Skill levels: One
What a plot! I've seen better in an Irwin Allen movie. Still the game's not bad. It's highly derivative, in terms of Ultimate's Knight Lore and Alien 8 but when all is said and done, it looks good, plays well and kept me interested for quite a while. If more titles like this are released for £3.95, we will all have something to be pleased about. If you bought the Ultimate games, then you may have had your fill of them by now. If you missed out, or are just an addict, then this has to be worth getting!
Chimera is graphically very similar to the Ultimate games; one difference though is that it is definitely more of an arcade adventure than Ultimate's hits. As far as gameplay goes, it is very easy to get into and can prove quite addictive but I can't help thinking that there is too little to the game. While the graphics are very good, there is hardly any significant animation, which is a bit of a let down. Chimera is well worth the £3.95 asking price but I suspect it will mainly appeal to people who don't like complex arcade adventures.
The thing that really gets me is that there is nothing to kill off in the game because of the logic problems. These, unfortunately, are trite, inane and (after figuring them out) leave nothing substantial to do. Bearing that in mind, there are some clever sound effects, good graphics and a game that will be something of a challenge (if for slightly annoying reasons). It's a well priced game. Perhaps it will encourage better.
Your first puzzle in this game is to decipher the instructions. What d'you reckon this means? "Each priming mechanism requires the completion of a multistage disablement of Artifacts (DDA) sequence." So, now you know, eh! Luckily, you'll find more comprehensible blurb once the game starts.
And quite a game it is too! It's along the lines of Alien 8, both in appearance and gameplay. You control a little robot that wanders around the three dimensional objects in each of the rooms collecting useful items as he goes. You'll also have to steer well clear of the more awkward rooms where the nasties are holed up. There's radiation in them there rooms!
If you should fall foul of the radioactivity your food and drink supply starts to dry up - and carrying objects has the same effect. You can read all about it on your status message line. Luckily, there are extra supplies of grub for you to pick up, dotted around the maze.
Chimera looks as attractive as its Ultimate predecessors, though, maybe it's not quite as inventive. The only thing I missed out on was not being able to jump around. But at this price who am I to complain? Go out and buy it - it's a cracker!
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Firebird kicks off its new Super Silver range with another Alien 8 lookalike, Chimera. You play a little robot sent to investigate what the Americans reckon is a Russian satellite. Instead it turns out to be - well, you'll have to complete the map to see the ghostly truth.
The idea is to blow up the ship by constructing warheads and priming them in the correct rooms. Your water and food supply provide limits to the game, as well as a straight time limit.
Fortunately you can replenish the former two with mugs of liquid or nutritious loaves of bread, but watch out - you may need to use those objects for other purposes so guzzle with discretion.
Mapping is vital, as the game contains a great deal of strategy, and to succeed requires careful planning of routes. The similarity to the Ultimate games rests on the 3D graphics and movement of the robot, but it falls short of allowing you to jump or move objects around, except by carrying them.
Hazards include radiators, egg-timers and electric toasters. It's a very domestic environment, but they're all deadly unless you have the right equipment to destroy them. Luckily there are computer terminals around which will give you clues, but use them sparingly - they are scarce.
Although not up to the highest standard of the Ultimate games, Chimera does represent terrific value for money, and those who enjoy these maze-quest arcade-adventures should not hesitate to fork out the pennies for an excellent addition to the genre.
MACHINE: Spectrum, Atari, CBM 64, Amstrad
PRICE: £3.50 Spec, CBM, Amstrad, Atari
If you're looking for value for money - and we mean REAL value for money - then check out Chimera on any of the machines above. You won't be disappointed.
It's the first game in Firebird's new Super Silver range and one can only hope other games in the range maintain the some high standard.
Comparisons with Ultimate's Alien 8 are inevitable and flattering for programmer Shahid Ahmad.
The game is a maze-type arcade adventure set on-board a mysterious ghost space ship.
An American astronaut is sent up to investigate. He has to blow up the ship by collecting, making and priming four warheads. He then has to escape before the big bang.
Various objects are to be found in the rooms to help the mission. You've also got to keep an eye on your water and food supplies.
Various bizarre hazards are to be found around the craft, including radiators and egg-timers! There are 64 rooms to be explored - so mapping is vital.
The three dimensional graphics of the rooms are clean and sharp, and the colours bright and clear.
Overall, Chimera is an excellent game which raises the quality of budget games to a new standard.
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