Monday, August 08, 2016

Elf



Oi, big ears!

Elf was released in 1991 by the mighty Ocean Software and is a platformer with simple adventure mechanics for lots of cumulative puzzles. Each level is impressive and it looks grand, so let's take a look...

We are Cornelius, a cool looking dude who's girlfriend, Elisa, has been kidnapped by the evil Necriliousr. Armed with his magic ring (stop it!!) you must travel eight incredibly gorgeous landscapes, avoiding strange and wacky creatures and solving puzzles in order to rescue the love of your life. Yes, that's Elisa and not your Atari ST!



Finders Keepers?

Playing Elf is never boring, thanks to the world we have to explore and everything in it. That includes the puzzles which must be figured out logically and in some sort of order. Oddly, I'm reminded of the old ZX Spectrum games by David Jones. You know, trading items with NPC characters who require the silliest of items before providing something you require. It's brilliant but only experience and perseverance will grant success.

However, that's not easy thanks to a barrage of critters constantly invading the screen, think Black Lamp. They are often relentless and will try to stop you from solving the puzzles. So look for anything that might help along the way? Heck, items and even animals, to collate as "pets" that will be used as currency to purchase an assortment of power-ups - including firepower, extra lives, the ability to fly and much more.

Elf is a fascinating and longwinded game that won't be easy to finish. The quest is massive but it will entertain you every step of the way with humour and cool ideas: like when you are chased up a ladder, an impressive mechanic. Finally, and in true Atic Atac style, a tombstone is erected when dead and is rumoured to be haunted!



Aesthetics

The graphics are tremendous with outstanding attention to detail for both the scenery and characters. The baddies are some of the most detailed sprites I've seen and killing them almost makes me feel bad (almost). Some have cute expressions and there are many integrated novelties, like rocks that watch your every move.

Sound effects are excellent but it's the music I love, by Matthew Cannon (remember Navy Seals?). Awesome chiptunes throughout!! They are quite bewitching and I prefer playing a game with the music on!



The CryptO'pinion?

Here we go, nothing is perfect... yadda yadda yadda! Well, that's true and it applies to Elf. I felt that the number of lives was far too restricting considering the task at hand. I also found it a little annoying when some critters would walk onto the screen just as I was about to walk off, thus zapping valuable energy. Arghh, irritating!!

However, Elf is brilliant. It will sap away the hours whilst you enjoy shooting the cuties, trading and trying to figure out how to bribe your way off the first level. This is something that you need to experience as I feel this is one of the best platform/adventures there is. It's excellent and I cannot recommend it highly enough.


- LINKS -

8BitChip has a version for hard disks
Floppy disks can be found via Old Games Finder.
Here is a walkthrough but don't spoil this awesome game!!


- MY HANDY TIPS -

Tweet Tweet, that cute little bird is hungry. Easy!
Red Indian's love feathers...
Toilet paper? Ahem, surely too easy to solve?
That big guy? Well, he just loves roast chicken. Yum!!
If you must, type in CHOROPOO during gameplay for 99 Pets.

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