Title		Obitus
Game Type	RPG
Publisher	Psygnosis
Players		1
Compatibility	OCS (AGA with Patch)
HD Installable	No
Submission	Keen

Obitus was released during Psygnosis' reign as the greatest arcade game
developers for the Amiga.. it contained all the usual Psygnosis
trademarks: A breathtaking cinematic intro, challenging varied gameplay
and at least 16 levels of parallax scrolling.. perhaps obscured by their
other more popular titles like 'Awesome' 'Shadow of the Beast II' and
even 'Armour Geddon' - Obitus was Psygnosis first foray into RPGish
gameplay at the time. The story goes something like this: Its night, and
you're trapped in a thundering rainstorm, you take refuge in a crumbling
ruin of a stone tower, a bolt of, um, magic-lightning, strikes the tower,
resurrecting it, and when you awake the next day you find yourself
somewhere in the dark ages.. all good fun, but now how do you get back??

Well, you begin after a quick primer: Find the key on the floor and unlock
the tower door.. its not a whole lot, but it demonstrates the basic
mechanisms of the interface - a large intuitive and attractive rendering
panel that occupies the lower half of the screen.. you emerge from the
tower into a dim, overgrown forest, one of the many first-person mazes
that make up the bulk of the gameplay.. this was ages before 'Doom'
redefined what first-person mazes should be like.. but on an OCS Amiga,
the movement is smooth, rich and very convincing.. basically you walk in a
straight line between a network of hubs.. when you reach a hub, a
compass-like display on the interface lights up, showing that you have 8
possible directions to move.. N, NE, E...  etc.. these mazes can be quite
huge.. in the mazes you find the many items for your inventory: Food,
weapons, torches, keys, magical bits.. and they share many of the common
traits you expect in an RPG: For instance food rejuvenates your health -
and brings up another interesting feature; stamina. Obitus requires your
character to sleep off his exhaustion at points during the game.. although
this would appear to help round-out the RPG gameplay, its kinda pointless
since the NPCs don't roam the mazes on their own, and hence don't add any
urgency or peril to the game.. breaking up these mazes, are 2 different
arcadish sequences.. the first sequence separated maze from maze, and was
a beautiful side scroller: with bigger sprites, and more levels of
parallax scrolling than I've seen in any game of the time.. the animation
is great: you can see your character cock and pull an arrow back in the
bow before firing, or with a flick, throw a dagger from his hip - we're not
talking about the 'bouncing rock' baddies from 'Shadow of the Beast'
here.. the pacing may be a little slow, but it is truly one of the
highlights of the game.. the second sequence is an interesting hybrid:
mating the interface of the maze/RPG with the arcadish 3rd person view of
the character.. its not side scrolling, and only comes into play when
exploring the rooms of the different castles in the game.. both are
without a doubt the epitome of what makes Psygnosis games great..

So what was the Obitus experience like?? Well graphics wise the game
shares the highest ratings reserved for all Psygnosis titles.. my only
complaint is that after those initial mazes and that first castle, the
environments seem to lose a sense of distinction.. Still, the way the
mossy emerald green forest fades to black in the distance, and the
articulated composure and tattered cloth detail of the many NPCs is
excellent.. 9.5 here.. Sound then?? well, here comes my monumental
complaint.. +there really isn't any+ there is a great theme while the
opening credits play, but the rest of the game is dismal silence!! -
broken only by the various sound fx.. wandering through these massive
mazes, sometimes for hours in a slowly dimming half-light (As your torches
wane and die) where the only sound you hear is the occasional grunt of
whatever you're currently killing can drive you bloody well insane.. i
can't emphasize what a better game this would be overall, with just any
music.. no monumental scores, just something ambient to help emphasize the
sense of traveling to different locales and accomplishing your objectives
as you progress through the game.. it was one of those inexplicable
blunders by a company that should know better.. 2.5 for sound.. now
gameplay (here comes the controversial bit): this game can either be
tedious and repetitive on an overwhelming scale - literally lost in the
mazes - or you can map it out, leaving you with the strength and sanity to
approach the other challenges of the game with the patience to succeed..
the first time I played, I took on the mazes relying on sheer devotion of
time and memory.. after hours of literally wandering in the dark (after
your torches run out, Psygnosis is kind enough to reduce your vision to a
very very dark gray as opposed to black) I actually made it back to the
light, and the first castle with enough keys to explore.. I was like a
moth attracted to a fire.. I of course neglected to save my game, and to
make a long story short, lured by a shiny treasure at the far end of a
room, I was snickered by a giant evil cruel extra-stingy razor blade -
leaving me feeling like i had just spent a night with Lorena Bobbit..
true!! Nothing like struggling for hours to fill your inventory with keys,
weapons and food, just to watch your only possibility for using any of it
lie bleeding on the floor.. To get anywhere, you really have to sit down
with a pad of paper and map the mazes out.. this may sound totally lame,
but once these mazes begin to take shape on paper, what was once a slower
part of the game, becomes quite enjoyable.. i will concede that if you do
map out the mazes, the game is not much of a challenge.. sorta follow the
footsteps through right to the end -  I was able to complete it after only
2 days.. and although not mapping out the mazes, will provide more of a
challenge (if not impossible - requiring a fanatical devotion of time and
patience) the difficulty is hardly of the enjoyable kind.. really, its not
you who gets lost in the mazes, its the game..

In the end, 90% of Obitus seems like those first mazes, first castle and
first arcade sequence - once you complete those, the rest of the game
feels smaller in comparison, and like i mentioned before somewhat
repetitive.. but in an ok way - like 'Awesome'.. or this may just be
because one of the first mazes, a network of subterranean caves aptly
titled the Catacombs, actually spans the entire playing area of the
game, and you cover a good portion of it your first outing.. i don't
know if that makes any sense, but its the sensation i got.. and because
of that, for those of you who do make it through all 4 kingdoms, the end
comes all too soon.

Graphics: 9.5
Sound: 2.5
Gameplay: 9

Obitus: 7

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