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Review: Unknown Game 1386
Author: Dustin
Added: 20/08/2002

The fine fellows at Natomic never cease to amaze me. Their production speed is stunning, to say the least. If you can't see them becoming a leading Click entertainment group within the next year, or don't see them as already being a leading Click entertainment group, perhaps you should pay more attention to them. They're producing quality at great speeds, and I foresee great things for them.

But enough with this. On to the review.

Bananarama is a simple game to explain. You guide your monkey (let's keep those minds clean, children) through each of the 16 level, divided into 4 worlds, collecting every banana on the stage, avoiding enemies and finally making your way to the exit. Easy enough, right? Well.. sort of.

Starting the game is a bit rough. You're tossed into levels that are challenging enough to make it fun, but simple enough so as not to discourage you from playing. You start out without any abilities, but as you complete worlds, you gain the ability to jump, lay bombs, throw bombs and detonate bombs at any time you wish. The problem with these power-ups is they make the later levels no more difficult, and in some cases, easier, than the first four levels you encounter.

My main gripe with Bananarama is that the difficulty never exceeded a certain point. This might be welcomed by some people, but for those who did not find the first couple levels difficult, it's not going to get any more challenging later on.

This might also have to do with the fact that the game was far too short. I completed it fully in a little less than 45 minutes, and was left hoping for more. Sadly, there wasn't more, except for going back to past levels again. Upsetting to me, there isn't much replay value here.

The game could have made good with a few more baddies or traps; Something to make the game more challenging. Perhaps some wall spikes instead of only the typical groud spikes. These could have been strategically placed along ladders so the player would have to be cautious. Or how about some different enemies? You'll encounter two total in the game: A Tikiman and a Shaman. The Tikimen provide the most threat, as they are usually positioned directly in paths you need to take. Still, they're pretty easily avoided. The Shamen are stationary, only turning direction to fire a small ball of energy at you at seemingly random intervals.

I really think this portion of the game could have been improved. More enemies would have made for a greater challenge, or just different situations. By the second world, you've seen almost all you're going to see through the rest of the game.

The sound could have used a bit of work, as well. The sound effects themselves fit perfectly, but the music becomes old and repetitive fairly quick. There is no variation between the menu screen music and the in-game music. A bit dissapointing.

Lastly, the controls should have been tweaked a bit more. Jumping works perfectly once you get the hang of it, but bombs seem to malfuncion on occasion. Sometimes you cannot lay a bomb, other times you cannot pick them up until you move a couple steps away, then back again.

But all is not bad in Bananarama. The game is enjoyable to play through it's short life, and the grahics are excellent. The monkey is very well animated, as are the enemies. Background environmental graphics are also supurb, ranging from mountains to forests to cave settings. When using bombs, ground area becomes destroyed from a blast, allowing you to pass through it. Seconds later, the ground reforms. If you're not quick enough, you could get stuck. Very inventive and impressive.

Furthermore, the titlescreen and menus all look exceptional. They are laid out in the most simplistic of layouts, but fits perfectly. Everything is easily navigated and understood, which is the best method and execution a game should present. The game even includes a save and load feature, so you can stop at any time to continue later.

Natomic has expanded its already great library with this interesting little platform game made by Akira. It isn't as lengthy as Eternal Daughter, but I wouldn't have expected it to be. A few more levels would have been nice, or perhaps a few bonus stages, but it contains enough to keep you entertained. Recommended.


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