Title Blues Brothers Game Type Platform Publisher Titus, November 1991 Players 1 or 2 HD Installable Patch available Compatibility Tested on A500, A1200 Submission RJP Review The Amiga was well served with 2D platform games, but there were few really great examples of the genre. Too often programmers tried to emulate the most obvious outward features of Sonic the Hedgehog or Mario without capturing their essential playability. Robocod is a good case in point - it had the fast parallax scrolling of Sonic and the huge levels of Mario, but it utterly lacked any sense of pace or urgency. What is it then that makes a good platformer? I'd suggest four (interconnected) factors: 1) The game should represent a challenge without being merely frustrating. Fairness is crucial - no sudden unforeseeable deaths, leaps of faith or ridiculous pixel perfect jumps. Each aspect of the gameplay should be introduced gently and the difficulty imperceptibly ratcheted up until the player is hooked. 2) Tight level design. Levels should be big enough to make exploration interesting and perhaps have several ways through them, but they should never become samey and disorientating. It's critical that there's something going on everywhere. 3) Smoothness. A platformer can never be much fun if the main character responds sluggishly and the scrolling is juddery. 4) Simplicity. As Keith Richards once said, "There's something about being constrained that opens up the possibilities." Blues Brothers meets all of these criteria with flying colours. Based very loosely on the film of the same name, you play one of the brothers as they search for their missing musical instruments scattered about the city. There are five good sized levels, each with one hidden instrument; you have to find it and make your way to an exit. There are baddies trying to stop you of course. Some are intelligent, chasing you and shooting, while others simply run to and fro in classic Jet Set Willy fashion. You can either evade them, or pick up packing cases that are scattered around and throw them at them. Along the way you can pick up records to give health bonuses, plus balloons and umbrellas that let you fly. There are also some neat swimming sections that add variety. And that 's about it. There's an interesting 2 player mode where both brothers appear on the same screen and the scrolling follows only one of them. Most reviewers panned this feature, but with two competent players it adds an element of teamwork, cooperation being needed to stick together. It's nothing that hasn't been done a million times before, but it's all executed with such panache that the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. The graphics are crisp and cartoon-like (but not sickeningly "cute") with amusing animation, the scrolling fast and silky smooth, while the music consists of superb Amiga renditions of songs from the film. The difficulty curve is perfectly judged; I found that I progressed a little further with each go. In the final analysis, not the biggest or the most technically accomplished Amiga platformer, but without doubt the most fun.