Mama Llama (Llamasoft) Review | Computer Gamer - Everygamegoing

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Mama Llama
By Llamasoft
Commodore 64

 
Published in Computer Gamer #2

Mama Llama

Jeff strikes again with this wonderfully unique and unusual arcade game, which features not one but a trio of Jeff's favourite trademarks. Namely the mystical Llama. Before I proceed, I'll set the scenario for the gameplay.

The scene is set on a far distant planet, supporting humanoid-type beings. The inhabitants of this planet had become the victims of an evil conquering Empire whose sole aim was to overcome the people by attacking the human psyche, in order to 'confound their human rationality'.

A plan was therefore devised to create a video game so weird that it might be used by the players to attain techniques that would help resist the unwanted attentions of their assailants.

The player's task is to control, by using a joystick, the movements of a family of three Llamas, consisting of a Mama Llama and her two offspring. The main objective, as nature dictates, is to protect her young from any attack.

The Llamas are presented on a horizontally scrolling landscape, awaiting the onslaught of unknown attackers. To protect the Llamas, the player is provided with a character called a Killdroid, whose function is to float ahead of the family destroying assailants when activated by pressing the fire button and then manoeuvring the droid over the offending UFO. When the droid is inactive, the movements of the three Llamas can be controlled simultaneously by moving the joystick either left or right, causing acceleration, or up and down which results in the Llamas either jumping up or sitting down.

The top line of the screen shows details concerning the droid as well as various scanners, which indicate the presence of objects either to the left or the right of your current position. Colour-coded arrows are used to give directional and distance information. Following this, we are shown strength indicators for each of the Llamas. If any of these reach zero then that Llama is lost.

Thus is it useful to allow the Llamas to sit down and regenerate strength, so that the reading on this indicator does not become too low. On the bottom line there is the score, bonus level and an indicator showing the number of attackers left to contend with before being allowed to enter another sector. The bonus is based on the number of surviving Llamas after each wave or screen of attackers. The game ends when the strength of the Mama Llama reaches zero.

It should be mentioned however that destroying the aliens is not as simple as it sounds. On some waves the player not only has to evaluate what to destroy but the way in which to destroy it. This feature turns many of the sector into mini puzzles, where the solution to a particular puzzle causes a reduction in the number of aliens in that sector. The droid therefore acts as a floating cursor that allows the player to solve the puzzle before the Llamas reach it.

What makes this rather unique is the fact that various gameplay conventions have been modified so as to bring a new and refreshing look to the state of the game, that can only result in the enhancement of their addictive appeal.