Retail Price: £7.95
Author: John M Phillips
Rising from the waters are mysterious stone towers, poking like fingers into the eye of the sky - and Pogo, a corpulent bug-eyed biped, is determined to reach the top of each.
So he uses a series of steps and platform lifts around the outside of the towers. As he toddles and leaps to the left and right, the tower rotates ('rotational 3-D scrolling', says Hewson) to reveal further steps, dead ends and doorways. By passing through these portals, Pogo can appear on the other side of the tower to take another flight of stairs.
But Pogo's progress isn't an easy ride, for the outside of this columnar construction is populated by bobbing balls, energetic eyes, and rotating stars, not to mention the occasional slippery step. A bubble gun solves some problems, but nobody thought to give Pogo a bucket of sand.
If Pogo tumbles to the base of the tower and lands in the choppy sea, one of his three lives is lost; but if he takes only a slight fall, landing on a lower stone step, he loses only time (there's a time limit) and can begirt) his ascent again.
Pogo gathers points by the pocketful as he ascends to higher levels, and if he's successful on one set of steps he can move on to conquer the next tower... Just because it's there.
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: the intricately detailed towers create a strong 3-D effect; beautifully-drawn characters; monochromatic
Sound: excellent title tune, in-game effects
Though it would benefit from a bit more colour, Nebulus is one of the cutest things around on the Spectrum, rivalled only by Berk in Through The Trap Door (also reviewed this issue)! The idea of the revolving tower is original, and what's more it works. It's addictive and has far more playability than you'd expect from game that's fairly simple. The title music is good, too.
This is as original as programmer John Phillips's last game, Impossaball (89% Overall in Issue 37). Nebulus is essentially a maze variant, but more complex than that description suggests - and it's one of those delightful games that's more or less instantly playable, without complex instructions and banks of controls. You'll keep coming back for more. The title tune is well above average.
Nebulus has some fantastic graphics, like Hewson's recent games Exolon and Zynaps, and there's a blue sea at the base of the tower. Some levels are really fun, too, and the music is brilliant.
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