Yolanda (Millennium) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format


Yolanda
By Millennium
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #14

Yolanda

We've all seen infuriatingly difficult, disorientating games that scramble your brain, warp your retinas and send your hands into an involuntary shake. It's usually the result of a programming fault, but in Yolanda the action has been deliberately designed to be as complex as possible. Before you take it on, just make sure you can afford the psychiatrist's fee to get your senses back into order.

The game is simple, just a platform challenge played on a single, static screen. The skill lies in moving your hero around the platforms in an attempt to reach the exit to the next level.

In some of the levels the platforms are hidden from view and the only way to make them appear is to leap headlong into thin air and hope for the best. These are the easiest of the levels to complete because they don't depend so much on fast reflexes. In others you face an obslaught of fireballs and other lethal missiles and the key to success is timing - fast timing.

The character you direct through all this mayhem is only a few pixels high. She has to leap around the platforms avoiding aliens, but because she's so tiny it's tricky working out the best way to encourage her to take an athletic leap that would carry you clear of the aliens. If you screw up you burst into flames and die. As if all these things weren't enough to have you reaching for the Paracetamol, you also have to contend with platforms which burst into flames the moment you land on them. This game is a pyromaniac's wet dream.

The game is split into a tutorial section and the main game. The tutorial levels are slightly easier than the others, but only slightly. If you're looking to learn tactics in this game, the only real way is to play it and discover your own solutions.

Effects

Graphics are particularly small - especially considering the size of sprites in today's ST games - but there are vast numbers of things going on at once.

With fireballs, animated aliens and a mindboggling quantity of offending missiles, the action is some of the hottest seen in an ST game.

Sound effects are limited to spot effects and other ST sound chip noises, which at least serve to complement the gameplay.

Verdict

Even if you're an dead hard gamester, don't imagine you're going to race through the first five levels in an instant. You aren't. Just the sheer number of missiles and aliens complicate the levels fo much that it's going to take you a good twenty minutes just trying to escape off of the first level. Make no mistake, no matter who you are you're not going to get far in this game.

Fortunately there are no lengthy disk accesses to tolerate. Just a few clicks of the joystick after a defeat and you're reincarnated ready for the next game.

Another useful feature is that there are a number of level ones you can tackle. Even if you can't get past the first scene, at least you're not going to spend hours staring at the same screen each time.

You have to be a serious masochist to want to tackle this one, but it's an absorbing challenge and if you end up a psychotic wreck from over exposure to manic gameplay, at least you'll have interesting stories for the psychiatrist's couch. "There's this little tiny chick jumping over fireballs and..."

Mark Higham

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