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PREVIEW: AIRBALL by Richard Karsmakers

The  English  company Microdeal has succeeded  in  staggering  ST
users several times: In the times when games were as rare as wild
Panda  bears,  they  came out with "Time  Bandits",  an  all-time
classic. The game featured graphics that had not been seen on the
ST yet,  and the set-up was large and impressive.  "Time Bandits"
can  still compete with many modern-day games.  Some  months  ago
they  launched  the  shoot-'em-up  game  "Goldrunner",  featuring
scrolling  not  yet  done  better  on  the  ST,  terrific  smooth
movements  and  impressive overall graphics (the reason  why  the
game  now roams in the highest regions of our Pop  Poll  software
top 10 - see elsewhere in this issue of ST NEWS). But now they've
once again published a fantastic game, better than "Time Bandits"
and just as good or maybe better than "Goldrunner": "Airball".

"Airball"  is  just the kind of game  I  really  like:  Wandering
around in many rooms,  trying to get things. I've tried to make a
map of all floors,  and I have already discovered 14 floors  with
about  one  hundred  rooms - impressive job done  here  by  Peter
Scott.  "Get the spellbook",  thus reads the message at the start
of the game.  It sounds easy but I can assure you it isn't.  Some
rooms   feature  quite  difficult  'puzzles'  -  some   even   so
complicated that nobody I know has ever been able to solve  them.
So  I  still haven't found anything only  slightly  resembling  a
Spellbook - only a lamp, a cross and some food (?).

Most  stunning of the whole game are the graphics,  done by  Pete
Lyon.  Every room is different (except for some tunnels that link
together  some rooms) and are equipped  with  fire-places,  light
bulbs,  different walls, tables, statues (heads - of the authors?
- as well as knights),  dead-coffins,  bodies,  skeletons, etc. -
too much to account for here.
You  are  an  Airball that has to find its way  through  all  the
rooms,  thereby  avoiding all spiky obstacles (of you fail to  do
so,  that results in a sound like the noise that arises from your
inflatible  boat  if you hit the underwater decaying  remains  of
some rusty bicycle) and also avoiding some kinds of stones  (that
are sometimes purple, sometimes green and sometimes light grey).

While  playing (and enjoying the music composed by  P.  Schields,
which sounds well but just not as good as  Hubbard-,  Gehrmann-or
Whittaker music) I found out that there is one room that causes a
program  crash.  It is a room that is not really easy to get  to,
but  I cannot get rid of the impression that the  Spellbook  will
actually have to be found somewhere beyond that room!

Game Ratings:

Name:                              Airball
Company:                           Microdeal
Author:                            Ed Scio
Graphics:                          9
Sound:                             7.5
Setup:                             9.5
Addictability:                     9.5
Lastability:                       9
Overall rating:                    9
Remarks:                           Shame of the 'crash' room

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.