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Review: Spaceman Steve:The Adventure Begins
feel free to disrgard all or part of the following, which is merely my personal opinion - just don't bother go arguing with me.
Spaceman Steve is a very nice simple little platformer which has got to be worth the small download for just about everybody, in my opinion.
The intro screen is quite attractive if not mindblowing, and there's not much else to comment on here. I might just add that the use of windows message boxes seems a little odd - especially when you have to type "Yes" or "No" to answer a question (you should make this non-case-sensitive so "you" works as well as "You").
This is the good bit. It's nice and simple (the sort of game you feel you could make yourself if only you could be bothered - and I don't mean that in a bad way), but genuinely entertaining. Jumping onto ladders can be a bit tricky, but to be honest, the rest is very easy. The only challenge lies in learning which way to go. With a little practice it becomes easy to win with 15+ seconds to spare.
I like the idea of rescuing people, but this wasn't really exploited to its full potential (it didn't affect the rest of the game or the outcome).
I also like how one of the platforms falls down after an explosion(?) - I think it would be good to have more of these events - maybe debris falling from the ceiling or something.
Varying the gravity in a couple of the screens is a nice idea, but again, I think more could have been made of it.
Basically, I think the game is full of good ideas, but could still be massively improved with very little effort - make the electrocuting wires swing or something, or add some other obstacles.
The graphics are generally quite nice, although some are apparently ripped - not sure which, apart from the escape pods. The main character and the computer terminals are nicely detailed, and the only thing I'm not keen on (besides the escape pods) is the indoor background which is too detailed and contrasting, making it a little difficult to see the main character. There is actually one more thing - the counter - as with far too many of the games on DC its just a normal counter using all the deafult settings - it would look so much better in a different font and colour (I think it should stop at 0 also).
The only other problems are the things that are missing - notably absent are any special effects - it would be nice to see some explosions or falling debris or something on a ship that's being blown apart - especially if you lose.
Sound & Music:
The music is all midi, but both the opening and ingame tracks are quite appropriate (no blink 182 / greenday soundtrack here). I personally don't think "proper" mp3s would fit the graphic and gameplay style anyway.
The constant siren noise certainly adds an element of urgency to the proceedings, and contributes a great deal to the games atmosphere.
There are no other sound effects, but they aren't really missed to be honest.
This would be where it all goes horribly wrong. You have 99 seconds in which to escape the crumbling spaceship, so it doesn't take a genius to figure that you won't be playing this game for long. The most time will be spent in exploring the (tiny) levels to find where you're meant to be going. There aren't actually any obstacles which involve any kind of skill, puzzle-solving or timing to negotiate.
When you do complete the game (probably after about 5-10 minutes time) there is no incentive to play again. It really needs a high score board with your best times (or maybe add more people to rescue or other secondary objectives, which could add to the players score). Most importantly, make the game longer though - it's the first game I've played that took longer to download than to complete! Personally I think this would be best done by a system of "waypoints" - where the game is a series of short races - make it so a bridge crumbles or something explodes if the player doesn't get there in time, so the player doesn't have to carry on if they're not going to reach the end in time.
SS is a lot of fun for a very short while. If it were a >1mb download it would be hard to recommend, but since the download is so tiny, I can safely say it's worth it. Nice work!
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