One of the best designers ever, Jeff "Yak" Minter is famous for designing numerous classic action games for early 8-bit systems such as the Atari 800 and Vic-20. Gridrunner++ is Yak's PC remake of his own Gridrunner, a very funny and addictive shooter featuring furious non-stop action and a lot of sheep. In Yak's own words: |
"The original Gridrunner was of necessity quite a simple affair -- when 3.5K is all you have for code, data and screen RAM, simplicity is inevitable :). At first glance it looked a bit like Atari's Centipede, but playing it revealed a game that was quite different in essence from that gentle garden-based shooter. Gridrunner was faster and had a much harder edge. Periodically bolts of energy would fire across the Grid, causing the player to be in a constant state of heightened awareness and always on the move. The action was extremely fast and furious, yet was simple enough that anyone could pick up and play the game immediately... It has that crucial aspect that any good shooty game must have -- the ability to transport the player to "the Zone", that almost trance-like state where one's attention becomes focused into the game almost to the exclusion of the real world :). I'm confident that players who enjoyed Llamatron, Tempest 2000 or Tempest 3000 will find in Gridrunner++ an equally rewarding experience.
For all its simplicity, there is the capacity for strategic play within the game. Advanced players can use techniques such as the Sheepie Save to survive in situations that would otherwise seem hopeless. Sheepies can be rescued for extra points and essential weapons power-ups, or left alone for a beleaguered player to -- quite literally -- fall back on should things go wrong. And each of the 50 levels requires the player to assess the methods of attack and use his weapons, skill and intelligence to formulate the most effective response. Throughout the game you will be subjected to the sort of near-sensory-overload abstract graphical flourishes that have become the hallmark of this ox's creations over the years :). The combination of intense gameplay, nice solid sound effects, firework-style particle effects, and lots and lots of sheep will, I hope, lead you to gaming delight :)"
And what a delight it is -- Gridrunner++ will hook even the most jaded action gamer, and compels anyone who's never heard of Minter's name to check out his earlier classics. A wonderful example of substance over style for an action game -- and released free of charge to boot by a generous game designer -- Gridrunner++ is simply a must-play for every action fan. Best of all, in 2003 the Arse on Fire edition was released for a Llamasoft party. This edition features a larger playing field, and the special Endurance Mode for veterans who think they can finish the game with one life. Two thumbs up, way up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs