Friday, June 10, 2016

Sophélie

Today I spent about 30 minutes trying to play something that instead ended up draining the life-force from me. Wow, what a half hour that was! If only I could get the time back because I feel weary!

Apparently, Sophelie is a vanquished goddess left to roam the lands looking for her original appearance. Why I hear you cry? Well, some kind soul has turned her into an albatross and now she is left to fly under beautifully colourful skies to battle some of the most insanely stupid enemies you could ever imagine.

Sophelie was released by New Deal Productions in 1990 and is probably the daftest shoot 'em up I have ever played. It features (almost)impressive parallax scrolling, tonnes of colours, very little audio and gameplay that makes no sense whatsoever. Start the game, kill a hoard of baddies, collect a weapons power-up from a naked angel (that's the best bit) and then do it all over again but with different sprites. In fact, it's these which are a curious oddity, I cannot remember the last time I had to shoot huge eyeballs, angry trees and globes. Funky, but I think the programmer was on some hardcore drugs at the time! Aesthetically, it's not too bad, I guess. However, the gameplay is so drab and dreary I almost fell asleep twice. Thankfully I managed to stay awake long enough to capture a couple of screenshots for you all. Terribly repetitive gameplay with a dollop of badly designed mechanics. I'm not impressed, to say the least.

Visuals aren't too bad, I guess. Although the number of onscreen colours is obviously high, it doesn't really work because the main character fails to distinctively stand out enough for my liking. The scrolling zips along at a fair old rate but the parallax effect is a little dodgy and should have been dropped in favour of a smoother performance. Audio is poor. The title music might have been nice using the Atari STE hardware so instead it's awful! Even worse are the in-game sound effects which are sparse, poor quality and with a curious oddly of a laughable whistle!

Overall, an underwhelming shooter that could have been better if they would have made use of the enhanced STe hardware. However, it does have in-game boobies to enjoy and a very cheeky title screen too, so...

LINKS

 - AtariMania has this bundle of joy within their ST database website.
 - 8BitChip has created an adapted version for those wanting to play it off their hdd's!
 - Old Games Finder has the floppy disk downloads if you are brave enough!