Title           Twinworld
Category        Platform
Players         1 or 2
Company		Blue Byte
Compatibility   KS1/OCS only (but WHDLoad patch available)
HD Installable	With Patch
Submission      Joona Palaste ( Profiled Reviewer

I must say, I love this game! I have played it since 1991 and haven't even
begun to bore of it yet. This is one of my all-time favourite platform
games. Let me explain why...

  Let's start at the beginning. Twinworld is a simple platform game with a
definite "fantasy" theme. The plot goes like this: Once upon a time, there
was a race of people called the Gaspards. These people, some of whom
possessed magical powers, lived happily in a place called Gaspary, ruled
by the family of Cariken and shielded by a sacred amulet.

  But this happiness didn't last for ever, because then came the evil
druid Maldur, who killed the Cariken family and took over the land with
his horrible monsters. Fearing the Gaspards might try to use the amulet
against him, Maldur broke it into 23 pieces, scattered across the land.
However, there was one survivor of the Cariken family. As the Cariken
prince Ulopa reached maturity, he set upon a quest to find the 23 pieces
of the amulet and free Gaspary of the evil Maldur. You take the role of
young Ulopa.

  At first, Twinworld might appear as just another platform game, but
after you play it a little, you begin to realise it's actually very good.
There are 23 levels to traverse, divided into five different groups,
representing different parts of Gaspary. Each level contains a piece of
the sacred amulet, which you must recover, and then get to the exit door.

  Of course, recovering the amulet pieces is not a trivial task by far,
because there are numerous monsters trying to hinder your efforts. You can
shoot the monsters with three kinds of magical bubbles, which bounce along
the ground. You you must calculate their trajectory correctly before
shooting, because you only have a limited supply of them.

  There are many kinds of monsters, ranging from the goblin-like Goulou
and avian Argous to the triple-headed Bothria, which actually splits into
three separate monsters when shot! Also, there are natural dangers to
worry about. Long falls will kill Ulopa, and sometimes you must be careful
not to land on boiling lava or deadly spikes.

  The makers of Twinworld, Blue Byte, tried to focus on game playability
instead of just graphics and music. This is obvious right from the start
of the game. The 23 levels are well designed and challenging, and the game
is intense enough to keep you interested at all times.

  One particular aspect I like about Twinworld is the inherent logic
of the gameplay. This shows up particularly well in the way the game
handles bonus items left behind from killing the monsters. While in
countless other games all monsters just leave a random item, in Twinworld
each monster is carefully coded to always leave a specific item every time
you play the game. I prefer this way to randomness, so if I progress
badly, I know it is my own fault and not just the odds against me.

  The various bonus items include valuable crystals that give you points,
springs to enhance your jumping, parachutes allowing you to fall long
distances, and extra lives. Also, some monsters leave behind a magical
flute, which summons a merchant magician. He can sell you whatever bonus
items you want, but the prices increase each time you buy something.
Here's another point where Twinworld is more clever than other platform
games. Instead of having a separate money attribute, you pay for the items
with your score. For one thing, this simplifies the game. For another, it
makes you feel that your score actually serves a purpose in the game.

  Even though Blue Byte haven't set out to make the greatest graphics and
music ever, they certainly came close enough. Both the graphics and the
music in Twinworld are excellent. The graphics are suitably fantasy-like,
with beautiful landscapes of various types, such as caves, trees or
underground gold mines. They are very colourful and detailed, in fact it
can make one wonder how they accomplished all that with just the OCS
chipset. Also, the player character and the monsters are nicely drawn and
animated. The animation includes a few cute details. For instance, every
time Ulopa completes a level, he waves briefly to the player before going
through the exit door. Without really thinking, I have developed a habit
of waving back to him every time!

  The music, of which there are five pieces - one for each level group -
are mellow fantasy tunes, which start out pleasingly enough, and only
improve as you progress onto different areas. My particular favourite is
the tune for the third level group, the castle of Blackthorn.

  Excellent as it may be, Twinworld is not, I must reluctantly admit,
without its faults. However, these are only minor. The biggest fault I
find in the game is the manual. It's very thin, black-and-white only, and
even includes the occasional typographical error. When compared to thick,
detailed manuals, like in the classic space colony game Utopia, this lets
you down. Another fault is the high score table. Although this is saved to
disk, a definite plus, it's very short: only five places. At least twenty
would have been preferred. And, like most games from the late 1980's,
Twinworld comes on a non-AmigaDOS disk, so to install it onto a hard drive
you need WHDLoad.

  Still, the good points about Twinworld far outnumber and outweigh the
bad points. It is a genuinely classic platform game and well deserves a
place in the collection of every platform game fan.

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