The Micro User1st January 1988
Published in The Micro User 5.11
Uridium is a superb high-speed shoot-'em-up, with super-smooth sideways scrolling. And if that sounds like Psycastria from Audiogenic, then it will be no surprise to learn that both are conversions from the same game on another machine.
However, Psycastria achieved such a high level of technical excellence that it is now considered the standard by which all other such games are judged. So I approached Uridium with more than a little trepidation.
It is compatible with all BBC machines from Model B to Master, and can be controlled using either keyboard or joystick. It includes all the features I consider essential, such as pause/restart, sound on/off and a quit facility, as well as a high-score table and demonstration mode.
From the outset, the game features a number of pleasant surprises. After the first section has loaded, you are presented with a rarely seen option of redefining the playing keys. What makes this feature even more welcome is that the default keys are not a set I have ever seen used on a BBC Micro.
The rest of the game then loads, accompanied by a short passage of multi-channel music that repeats at intervals. Once loaded, the game alternates between the title page, high-score table and demo mode.
After playing Uridium for a while. I actually came to appreciate that there is no introductory music when beginning the game, or death anthem after losing the last life. Just pressing Return takes you straight back into the action and your final demise returns you almost instantly to the title page.
Uridium is certainly easier to play than Psycastria. In both games you must clear each level in one go - but the latter is so fast, with so many obstacles, that all but the most determined of games players can be put off.
Uridium, however, starts off much more gently: I cleared the first level in a relatively short time. Although I have only got to the third level a couple of times so far, I can normally now get to the second without losing a life.
On the surface there is relatively little to choose between the two games. Psycastria is certainly flashier and more of an instant challenge to the geniuses, but Uridium is - to my mind - more playable.
If you enjoy shoot-'em-ups and haven't already got Audiogenic's offering, buy Uridium without hesitation. If you do have Psycastria, andwant a variation on a theme - or is it the theme of the variation? - then buy it too.
In short, Uridium is excellent - I can recommend it wholeheartedly.