Ranarama (Players) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Players
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #71


Ahem, how embarrassing - magical Mervyn has transformed himself into a toad just as his dark dungeons come under relentless attack from an army of warlocks. Things are looking bleak, but with skill (and a little luck) Mervyn will escape the dungeons and turn back into a human.

Ranarama is an overhead-view Gauntlet-like maze game with masses of creatures being churned out by monster generators. There are eight dungeons to fight through, each packed with enemies, the most important being twelve warlocks who each hold four runes - vital for Mervyn's eventual return to human form. Combat with warlocks takes the odd form of swapping around letters to unscramble the word 'ranarama' before time runs out! Another unusual element is that you can only see into rooms you've already been in, an odd effect with weirdly-shaped rooms and a standard flick-screen scroll.

Magic takes the form of symbols on the floor, or Floor Glyphs which can be activated by pressing Fire while on them. These present maps of the dungeon so far explored, allow you to move between the vertical levels of a dungeon, smart-bomb creatures on-screen and cast a spell. Your spell power is initially weak, but can be boosted by collecting runes. There are four types of spells: offence, defence, power and effect.

Programmed by Steve Turner of Graftgold fame, Ranarama is obviously a Spectrum conversion. The backgrounds are extremely colourful and quite attractive, but all the sprites are monochromatic and generally weak. The Mervyn graphic is particularly poor with minimal animation, a bit of a black splodge unfortunately. Back in Issue 25 the game had a mixed reception. Julian raved that it was "brilliantly designed, rewarding and incredibly playable". But Steve wasn't so impressed: "The playing area is huge, but there is little to do in many rooms apart from shooting the occupants - which soon proves tedious."

Although the eventual mark was 87%, it hasn't stood the test of time too well - particularly in terms of graphics.