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© Dave 'Spaz of TLB' Moss

SOFTWARE REVIEW: JAMES POND BY MILLENIUM
by Richard Karsmakers

"Excuse me, sir," a large red fish the size of a grown man
asked, "what is your name?"
"Pond," the frog, looking up towards the huge species of pisces
without even blinking an eye, said.
"James Pond."
The fish used one of its fins to touch the place where a human
would have had a chin in what appeared to be a thoughtful way.
The name rang a bell, though it wasn't quite sure what kind of
bell it was.
Deciding it took too long to think of which bell, it swam off.

A yellyfish swam by, eyeing the frog with suspicion.
When looking at the frog, it felt a subconscious desire to ask
it for its name.
"Excuse me, sir," the yellyfish the size of an average pizza
asked, "what is your name?"
"Pond," the frog, looking up towards the pizza-sized yellyfish
without even blinking an eye, said.
"James Pond."
The yellyfish didn't quite know what to do with the answer.
Therefore, it didn't take long before it disappeared off the
scenery, too.

A huge shark came next. It was really terrifyingly huge - one of
those sharks that eat shipwrecks for breakfast, using a battle
lance for tooth-pick.
It, too, felt a growing subconscious desire to ask this strange
frog for its name.
So it did.
"Pond," the frog, looking up towards the terrifyingly huge
shark without even blinking an eye, said.
"James Pond."
The shark felt frustrated but didn't quite know how to react.
Normally, he would probably have eaten it. But, normally he
wouldn't have asked it for its name, either.
It swam off, wondering about life, the universe, and what kind
of bell that name turned out to be ringing.

A human embarked upon the scenery now.
The human was life-sized, had short hair and, remarkably,
glasses.
"Isn't this a shit introductory novel?" it asked the frog.
"Pond," the frog, looking up towards the life-size human, said.
It blinked an eye.
"James Pond," it added with some hesitation, as if noticing too
late that the answer just given was a wrong one.
Utterly confused, the frog swam off, muttering about how shit
life can be.

*****

One of the most 'fresh' new releases of this year is Millenium's
"James Pond", in which you take on the role of a frog battling
against nuclear dumps, oil wastes, lobster fishing, and lots
more.
More bright colours than the eyes can register, more bonuses
than a dozen copies of "Bubble Bobble", more maps than "Flood",
more hidden rooms than "Giana Sisters" (or, if you want, "Mario
Bros"), oodles of anything and everything. That's basically what
this game is.
It is very hard to believe that all this has been thought up by
Chris Sorrell with some assistance by Steve Bak; It looks as if a
whole platoon of nutty Japanese games designers sat down for half
a year!
A brilliant product, which I believe is programmed within a very
short time (I guess less than half year passed since "Yolanda").

"James Pond" is NO Greenpeace game - it's just that you happen
to have to do things that frogs (and Greenpeace people) would do.
In the first level, it's all a matter of collecting keys and
then unlocking lobsters that are caught by fishermen. There are
bad fish that you have to bubble (and then touch, which results
in them transforming into a bonus). Very easy, this level. Dozens
of different bonuses are to be seen already. There's a hidden
room, and an exit to mission 2 or 3.
I am not going to reveal much more of further levels, and the
reason therefore is twofold: A) I didn't need long to conclude
this is one helluva game and I couldn't wait to write this
review. I didn't actually see any missions after 3 B) It is much
more fun to find out yourself.

Joystick control is very good, and I found it no problem at all
to whiz around the levels collecting goodies. All conventions are
nicely standard, and I found the levels incredibly well laid out
(though mission 3 is already a tough nut to crack!). Scrolling is
blocky as hell, but that's no problem actually. The sound effects
are very appropriate, and even the intro and hiscore sequence are
very well taken care of.

Concluding: It is my firmest of beliefs that, if you like cute
games with lotsa things to find out and lotsa bonuses to collect,
you will never regret buying "James Pond". It's worth every
f.ckin' penny you shell out for it (and, needless to say, I am
not exaggerating at all).
It's simply brilliant, and there's such a load of stuff in the
game that's it's just incredible. You'll keep on coming back for
more, as mission after mission turns out to supply you with yet
further an abundance of new graphics, new bonuses, and new tasks.
If you add to this that the whole game is very well programmed
and supplied with a healthy dose of humour, what else is there to
be wanted?
"James Pond". One of the best cutesy games this side of "Bubble
Bobble". I don't care shit what you think of my language: It's
fucking great.

Game rating:

Title: James Pond
Company: Millenium
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 7.5
Playability: 9
Hookability: 9
Value for money: 8.5
Overall rating: 9
Price: £24.95
Hardware: Colour monitor and joystick
Remark: Brill! Brill! Cute! Nice!

Many thanks to whoever of Millenium who gave me a preprod of
this game at the Salon de la Micro in Paris: You made my weekend
worth while after all! I am very sorry that I never actually
asked for your name, but I know you know I mean you (if you get
my drift).
With "James Pond", you have a potential hit game up your sleeve!
Make something of it!

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.