Sunday, June 02, 2019

Pop!


One thing I love is trolling the ST's massive archive of menu disks and Golden Dawn #44 features quite a few unexpected crackers. The first here is Pop! by Manuel Castrillo of Bit Culture, a shareware game released in 1993. The instructions are quite difficult but we're on Skuiskie Island and armed with a gas gun to kill lots of nasties!

Pop! is a platformer and feels kinda like a weird mix of Pang and Monster Business. Actually, it's rather odd if I'm honest and certainly not what I expected to play this morning. Right from the start, you're thrown in at the deep end which means instant death. Why game developers think something like this is a good thing, I do not know.

 
Kudos to these three likely lads who put most commercial companies to shame by making use of the STe!

Stick with it and, after many pointless deaths, you will get the hang of that terrible start. Use your gun to gas these critters to Hell - they take a few hits and offer some cute expressions but they need to die before the time limit expires. The controls feel nice but are a little too slow, especially when frantically trying to turn around in the heat of the moment. Interestingly, there is support for two players which adds a whole new level to the excitement. Ohh!

So what about the graphics and sounds? Well, I couldn't ever be too judgmental about the aesthetics of any shareware game and Hoog had already set that bar incredibly high. However, Pop! does have nice, if basic, graphics and there are some neat touches - like your death. Colours are a little silly and I think better use of the palette should have been made, especially when monsters blend into the scenery and your gun's gas bubbles are invisible against the background sky. Music is DMA and in stereo but sadly very little audio is heard during gameplay...

 
A map of Skuiskie Island is shown before you're instantly eaten alive by something rather cute.

Overall, this is a shockingly silly game but quite addictive too. With a little more thought, I'm sure Pop! could have been far better but it's spoiled by the controls and a terribly harsh time limit. Having said that, I obviously thought it was good enough to feature, so either I'm going soft or I had myself some fun on this rainy Sunday morning?

Why you decide if I'm going crazy, why not grab yourself Golden Dawn's disk via Demozoo.

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