Sam Coupe Scrapbook

The Games
- Review of Sphera

Information provided by: Graham Goring

Sphera was one of the first games to come out on the SAM. Long before it's release we were treated to beautiful mode 4 graphics depicting the Mega-Enemies and some technical stuff all about how it had lots of layers of parallax and lovely sound. So we all had bated breath (from reading YS instead of cleaning our teeth - tsk!) by the time the game arrived. And it turned out to be an utter turkey.

The game was a basic vertically scrolling shoot 'em up. With pretty good mode 2 graphics during the normal levels, and great mode 4 graphics upon meeting the Boss Creatures. Now, the problem with mode 2 is that you're only allowed 2 colours per 8 pixel long line (horizontally) so the enemies and your craft were all white and boring, making them stand out from the nice background like a sore thumb.

Another feature making it difficult was that virtually (if not completely) all the 'background' passed OVER you and the enemies, making it impossible to see them and their bullets (which were disproportionatley massive) as they streaked towards you intent on draining your shields, or killing you.

And since both you and the enemies go pretty fast you spend most of your time dying and re-starting the level, ack!

But if you are after a shoot 'em up with PLENTY of challenge, then you could do worse, seeing as it's ever so cheap now. But you could do better (not sure how, but at a guess it'd probably involve writing something in BASIC).

A LOT better.

Graphics       78% - Some are great, the rest are damn awful.
Addictivity    47% - Say goodbye to disk-drive, Mr Sphera, say hello to bin. 
Instant Appeal 65% - Looks nice, with a nice intro screen. Plays terribly.
Sound          83% - Good spot FX, and a great, if short, intro tune by Sean
Overall        55% - Avoid! Avoid more avidly than you would a highly suspicious
                     looking rat emerging from a door with a yellow cross on it.

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