Amstrad Action

The Last Days Of Doom

Author: The Balrog
Publisher: Topologika
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #62

The Last Days Of Doom

Last Days Of Doom is the third and final part of Topologika's Doom series of games (the other two being Countdown To Doom and Return To Doom - see the mini-reviews below). Written by Peter Killworth (author of Philosopher's Quest - a classic game), Last Days is, in Peter's own words, "cosmic in parts - after winning, you'll literally never be the same again!" - strong words to say about any adventure - is Last Days really that good?

Well, I'm not sure if it will change your life, but Last Days is certainly a good game. This time the planet Doomawangara (Doom for short) is dying... and only you can save it. Doomquakes, eruptions and other nasty things are happening on the surface and goodness knows what's happening underground. To cap it all, a third artifact has turned up, not far from a ruined, walled city.

The experts reckon Doom will blow up in a few days time and any sane person would stay away - but you feel you have to try and help. As usual, you crash on the planet whilst trying to land - this is where the game starts with you in your ship with your crew of three (don't worry about them - they're all crushed to death about a minute later!).

The crashed cruiser is quickly slipping into a deep chasm and you'll have to escape fast or the chasm will turn into your tomb! What follows is a race against time to escape the ship and rescue your trusty robotic dog companion - yes, the lovable dog from Return To Doom is back, and is a good side-kick - a sort of Topologika version of Floyd. Rescuing the dog is difficult, and indicates the level of difficulty throughout the rest of game. This is not only one of Peter Killworth's best games but also one of his hardest!

You needn't have played the previous two games to enjoy Last Days Of Doom, but it helps a lot! If you have already visited the planet Doom and experienced the various inhabitants before, then the atmosphere and enjoyment of Last Days is greatly increased. In fact, knowledge of the previous games, though not essential for completion of Last Days, does help. If you have played Return and Countdown, then you will be much better prepared for some of the puzzles you encounter.

Puzzles are what Last Days Of Doom is all about. They vary from simple object manipulation to incredibly complicated time-related posers. These puzzles cause a lot of frustration in the game; there are some objects that can only be used once, but due to a lack of an examine command or a helpful description you have no idea what they are!

What follows is a lot of saving and restoring while you experiment with various spheres, rods and cylinders to try and discover what they all do. In fact you will find yourself dying a lot in this game as it is so difficult - with no Ramsave or Oops, you'll have to rely on good old-fashioned saving to disk which, although fast, is still an annoyance.

As with all Topologika games, Last Days Of Doom has a comprehensive on-line help system, structured in stages. You initially get a partial clue, then a more detailed one, and so on. You are more or less guaranteed to use the help function of Last Days sooner or later!

The package also comes with a bonus game, Hezarin, on the B-side. Hezarin is a typical swords-and-sorcery style exploration game. It's large and well-written and it complements the science-fiction style of Last Days well.

Last Days is expensive - it's nearly double the price of the first two titles in the trilogy - but when you take into consideration the bonus game the price works out reasonable. Even so, £20 is a lot of money...

Original and well-written games are Topologika's strong point. Where other companies have moved on to developing flashy parsers and amazing graphics, Topologika has stuck with its original format. Although flashy parsers and amazing graphics do add to a game, they sometimes hide an unoriginal, illogical and poorly-written game.

If you prefer a good old-fashioned challenging adventure with loads of well-thought-out logical puzzles, then buy it. In fact I recommend buying the whole trilogy - you won't regret your decision and you'll be busy adventuring for a long while!

Countdown To Doom

(Reviewed AA26) You crash-land on the mysterious planet Doom. The planet's atmosphere slowly corrodes your spaceship so you must fix it quickly. Searching for spare parts you'll also find treasure - escape, and you'll be rich. OVERALL 59%

Return To Doom

(Reviewed AA35) You visit Doom again, this time in answer to an ambassadorial distress call. Return To Doom has devilishly difficult puzzles and introduces you to your trusty robot dog, who plays a large part in Last Days. OVERALL 70%

The Balrog

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