Double Take

Author: Ben Stone
Publisher: Ocean
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #37

Double Take

Our normal, stable universe has a parallel - a universe that is under the control of a distinctly evil being by the name of Sumink. Sumink has been waiting for the opportunity to cross the dimensional divide that separates the two universes so he can begin a new program of conquest...

Then, one day, a student working in an advanced physics research laboratory unwittingly provides Sumink with his chance. An experiment damages the entire space/time continuum, throwing the two parallel universes into an unstable state and creating gateways that allow objects and people to pass from one universe to the other.

The lab in which the fateful experiment was conducted contains sixteen rooms and a giant, tunnel-like particle accelerator. Suddenly it has become linked to the equivalent laboratory in Sumink's universe. Objects from locations in our universe have become unstable and changed places with their counterparts in the 'anti-universe'. The first step in restoring order involves stabilising these objects and returning them to their rightful locations.

Double Take

You control the student whose experiment caused all the problems- he is represented by a flying lab coat and is equipped with a gun. Just as well, as a horde of energy-sapping monsters have been created and they lurk in every location, regenerating themselves endlessly until stability is restored.

Rooms in a universe are linked by whirling vortexes - the screen flips to the next location when the coat is moved down into a vortex while fire is pressed. To gain access to some rooms, the student has to travel through the cyclotron itself - which contains energy-sapping atomic particles. The status panel includes a readout that monitors your energy level: there's only one life in the game and energy must be conserved as it can't be boosted.

Periodically, the main display dissolves and reforms as the two universes interchange. A pointer indicates which universe is currently occupied - a plus sign represents our universe and a minus sign Sumink's. This pointer slides along a scale when a shift between universes is imminent. All the locations in one universe are contained in the other, but as the universes are mirror images of each other, moving left in one universe is equivalent to moving right in the other, and vice versa.

Double Take

Sixteen electrons - one for each of the sixteen pairs of locations - move up and down in a window in the status area. Restoring order by returning all the objects that travelled between the universes to their correct places causes the dancing electrons to move in harmony and produce a sine wave on this readout.

When the student enters a room a pair of lights under the electron display show red if the room is unstable and green if it is stable. One item can be carried at a time, and picking up an object causes it to appear in a window on the status area. The indicator lights then remain red until the student takes the object to the room in which it belongs. If the lights turn red again when the object is dropped, it has been placed incorrectly and must be gathered up and repositioned.

The colour of the object held changes to indicate its stability, moving through the spectrum from magenta to flashing white. Stability can be increased gradually shooting monsters or instantly by touching the sparkling cloud that wanders through each universe - these clouds also act as portals between the two worlds. A stable object is retained when the universes interchange, but the moment it is dropped it becomes unstable again unless it is placed in its proper position. It's no use lust picking up an object and waiting for the universes to change - if the flip happens while an unstable object is held it is automatically swapped for its counterpart.

Restoring stability is only the first part of the game. Once everything is ship-shape it's time to deal with the threat posed by Sumink himself. Entering the negative universe you must do battle with the evil warlord...


Control keys: redefinable - up, down, left, right, fire; SPACE to pause
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: attractive, and carefully done
Graphics: impressive: the usual DENTON's flair
Sound: cute tune at the beginning with spot effects throughout
Skill levels: one
Screens: around sixty


I was impressed when I first saw this - It is based on a realty good Idea. However, after quite a lot of play I realised that Double Take didn't really grab me in the right places. The gameplay isn't really compulsive, so you can find yourself getting very bored after a short time. On screen everything is excellently done. All of the characters are perfectly animated (especially your jacket), and the backdrops are colourful and very detailed. The sound is also good, but not outstanding. This game isn't quite my cup of tea - I found it got monotonous.


Denton Designs seem to have got their act together again and up come up with a really good product ... I think! The graphics are well above average - colourful and detailed. The sound is good but only plays once on the title screen, which you never see again after you've chosen your options. The animation is very smooth and fast, and thankfully the collision detection is accurate. Unfortunately, I found the game lacked the sparkle that could keep me addicted to it for long. I can see that Double Take will appeal to the graphically minded among you, but I found the actual game boring to play.


It certainty looks as though Denton Designs have got things together again! The graphics on Double Take are excellent, with loads of colour used (and most of the clashes are fairly discreet!). The instructions and gameplay are quite complicated, but if you take time to digest everything the game underneath is both playable and addictive.

The place where Double Take most surprised me was in the effects. Congratulations to Denton Designs for the spinning vortexes, the screen changing, and the ever so neat animation.

Ben StonePaul SumnerMike Dunn

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