Amstrad Action

Molecule Man

Author: Bob Wade
Publisher: Mastertronic
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #11

Molecule Man

Mastertronic's third big game of the month makes it a hat-trick for them - two raves and a Mastergame. This one's reminiscent of Cylu but has a very special feature allowing you to redesign the whole layout of the game. It's an 'isometric' 3D game (pause while bores the length and breadth of the country scream 'Knight Lore copy'), where a bubble headed character has to collect objects from a 256 screen maze.

The maze is a 16 x 16 grid of screens and hidden within it are 16 circuits that Molecule Man - that's you! - has to find in order to escape in a teleporter. The twin problems you face are, that the maze is impassable in some places and has to be blown up, and that you need a continual supply of anti-radiation pills to prevent your death.

Right from the start of the game the radiation is eating away at Molecule Man and to get those life saving pills you have to buy them from a dispenser. Coins found lying around the maze allow you to use a dispenser, but you'll need to be quick about finding them as the pills run out quite quickly.

Molecule Man

There are also dispensers that swap a coin for a bomb and these are also essential for completing the game. They allow you to blow holes in certain sections of the maze in order to get at a trapped circuit or coin, or just to take a shortcut. The agonising decision is whether to buy a bomb and complete a bit more of the game or to buy more pills to live a little longer and explore a bit more.

Some sections of the scenery can't be blown up, the distinction between types of scenery only being discovered by trial and error. The need for economy and speed in everything makes the game tough in its original form which needs mapping if you're going to get far. However you can find an easier way out by using the handy screen design facility that comes as a separate program on the tape.

Molecule Man allows you either to edit the existing game screens or create 256 new ones of your own. You can use any of 42 different objects in the construction, but the game will always be completed by collecting 16 circuits and getting to the transporter pad. The designer program is very easy to use and of course allows you to save your creations. It adds that something extra that will keep you with the game for longer than usual.

Molecule Man

The graphics are disappointing because each screen is only one colour, but the objects are quite well designed. Despite not looking that hot, the testing gameplay of the original layout and the ability to design your own screens make this a really worthwhile buy at only £1.99.

Second Opinion

I thought Cylu was cheap, but this is only half the price. It's not quite as pretty, I'll admit, and the gameplay isn't quite as varied either. On the other hand, the screen size is larger and the game designer is a marvellous addition. Another Mastertronic Rave, and a well-deserved one.

Good News

P. 256 screens is a lot.
P. The original layout is good and provides a tough game.
P. Exploration and panic gameplay are addictive.
P. Maze design adds a lot to the life of the game.
P. The price!

Bad News

N. All screens are a single colour.
N. Rather unoriginal game concept.

Green Screen View

Some screens can be a bit murky, but nothing serious. Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot of difference.

Bob Wade

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