Eidolon, The

by P.A.W. Software: Tony Adams, Tony R. Porter
Activision Inc
Crash Issue 36, Christmas Special 1986/87   (1986-12-10)   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

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