Reviewer: Ben Stone
Sod blasting billions of horrible green snotty monsters from the planet Xurigg for a game of Invaders - rescuing fairies is where it's at. You've got it all if you're a barbarian from the dark ages, I can tell you: action, girls and a kinky set of sheepskin togs that'd keep the Joan Collins Fan Club happy for at least a week...
"Stormlord the barbarian was having a bit of fun, see. Playing around with the local bunch of fairies and wood nymphs - well, nobody thought anything of it them days. Anyway he was having a bit of a laugh, right, and stone me, all the fairy folk an' that disappeared - poof! Worr, Stormy was a bit on the 'ole miffed side I can tell you.
"So off 'ee went, see, goes looking for them dunn'ee. An then 'ee finds out that this evil witch wossername's behind it all. She'd gone and locked up all the fairies by themselves in dungeons an 'at - all over the place they are. That fairy power of theirs, you know it's the stuff that keeps all the riff-raff out of the neighbourbod, well it's just about run out if you ask me 'cos there's all these strange types around the place now.
"Well I reckon that if Stormlord don't get his skates on and rescue all them fairies a bit sharpish that witch'll have his guts for garters and then where'll we be 'eh? With no one around to protect us from the likes of 'er, eh? We'll be for the high jump and no mistake, you mark my words, mate..."
Stormlord is a flip screen arcade/adventure with the player taking the control of (you've guessed it) Stormlord the hard man, in his quest to rescue fairydom and the rest of the inhabitants of his land from the evil clutches of the nasty witch (sounds a bit familiar dunnit?). The basic aim is to locate and rescue the fairies. The status bar displays how many fairies you've got to find to complete a level and the time you've got left to do it in. To rescue a fairy you simply walk over it, but things aren't quite that simple as they're often inaccessible or guarded by traps or some of the witches henchmen.
Scattered around Stormlord's world you'll find all sorts of objects to help you in your quest - these are automatically picked up and swopped with the object currently in Stormlord's pocket. Their uses are nearly always pretty obvious - for instance bees are attracted by the honey pot, so if a swarm of bees is guarding the entrance to a fairy's dungeon swop the honey pot for an object near by and hey presto, the bees should move towards the honey leaving a safe passage to the fairy. Simple enough for mere mortals like me to be in with a chance of completing the game without too much of a headache.
Another neat feature is the springboard. Like the objects, correct use of this is vital if you're going to succeed. A little like a teleporter, the springboard transports you from one location to another when you walk over it - watch out though, you might get sprung into a trap.
Your character, despite his larger than normal size, is remarkably easy to move around with the original(ish) left, right, crouch, jump and fire controls. Getting to grips with these takes a little longer than usual because both jump and fire controls are variable - the longer the jump key is pressed the higher the jump, and you can shoot out either bolts of energy or a powerful sword depending on how quick you are with the key presses.
The game is split up into several levels and an end of level sub-game. Completing a level is just a matter of rescuing all the fairies in it. Once you've completed a level you're magically transported to a peaceful land where the fairies that you've just rescued are having a bit of rest and recreation. The object of the sub-game is to try and get a couple of extra lives - fairly important as during the main game these get depleted somewhat rapidly. To gain an extra life you have to collect fairy tears. Aw! And as any self respecting mythologist knows, the only way you're going to get a fairy to cry is to break her heart. Stormlord, being a bit of a lad, doesn't have much trouble in this department. Instead of firing nasty swords and stuff he shoots kisses up into the air at the fairies (innit cute!). Once the snogging session is over the fairy's heart is instantly broken and she sheds a tear for her lost love to pick up (I think I'm going to throw up...!). Once you've gotten tears Stormlord is awarded an extra life.
This is another masterpeice of game design and programming from Hewson's ace Raffaelle Cecco but after Exolon, Cybernoid and Cybernoid II what else would we expect? From the moment I started play I was completely enthralled in Stormlord's world, large colourful graphics and great sound keep the player playing and my guess is that it'll keep most people happy until they complete it. For once I can't see a thing worth whingeing about, so I won't - just go and buy it.
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