Acorn User1st February 1988
Published in Acorn User #067
The scenario for Superior/Acornsoft's latest BBC/Electron game Elixir might be mistaken for part of the current campaign against the dangers of drug abuse. Chemist Cyril, experimenting playfully in his premises one night, mistakenly overdoses on a powerful reducing agent. Now only inches tall, his only hope is to reach his emergency supply of magic elixir.
As if getting to the elixir were not enough, you in your role as Cyril need to maintain a sharp awareness of the effects of the pills you pop all over the game. Some colours slow you down. Other speed you up. Green pills cause you to fall over whereas the yellow ones lead to a sudden death. It's probably better to stick to the reds. These are socially acceptable vitamin rations, which reward you with 50 points for each one you... er... pick up! You have to get all forty of them.
Other elements in the game include phials of powerful acid - best avoided! - and mysterious magic beans. Sadly, even these colourful accessories cannot disguise the fact that Elixir is another variation on the weary platforms-and-ladders theme, and a pretty second-rate one at that. The screen display is a window scrolling around a large virtual playing area consisting of shelves and tables.
As you work your way up the levels you find handy items of equipment which protext you against such unlikely assailants as lipstick missiles, flying flash-bulbs and a monster called the 'Circularsaurus'. Some of the things you find help you along your way, much as in text adventures. A thread, for example, can be dangled over a hook to provide a new way up or down between shelves. The logical puzzles are well thought out and can given patient players something to get their teeth into.
Sadly, though, the presentation of the game lets it down. The graphics are large and clear, but they flicker annoyingly. Movement is jerky, and the best thing about the insistently grating sound is that it can be switched off.
The platform-and-ladder game is an old and creaky format which deserves to be given a rest.