Monday, August 08, 2016

Elf

You are little 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 gorgeous landscapes, avoiding wacky creatures and solving simple puzzles in order to rescue the love of your life.

Elf was released in 1991 by the mighty Ocean Software and is a gorgeous platformer with a simple adventure element spread over several massive levels. Gameplay is stuffed full of relentless action with an onslaught of baddies constantly popping up to cause you grief and slow you down as you search for pieces of the puzzles. And it's these puzzles which remind my of the David Jones games on my old ZX Spectrum as they involve trading items with the silly characters, which is an interesting aspect to Elf. There are other items, even animals, to collate as "pets" which is essentially your currency used to purchase an assortment of power-ups including firepower, extra lives, the ability to fly (click on the image) and much more. Each is superb and certainly help to increase longevity.

Elf is jammed packed with humorous touches. Some animals have cute expressions and there are also many integrated novelties, like rock eyes that watch your every move. I like how one of the baddies followed me, by using a ladder, a simple but impressive mechanic. Also, in true Atic Atac style, a tombstone is erected when you lose a life and it is rumoured to be haunted! If Elf has a weakness, it's the number of allotted lives which is too few and should have been greater 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 but this is minor.

The graphics are tremendous with such an outstanding attention to detail for both the scenery and characters. The baddies are some of the most detailed sprites I have ever seen, killing them almost makes me feel bad (almost). Sound effects are excellent but it's the music I love, by Matthew Cannon who also worked on Navy Seals. Awesome chiptunes throughout, which are quite bewitching and (for once) I prefer playing a game with the music on!

Elf is a game to be experienced and it's not one to pick up and play a game for a few minutes. Shoot and kill everything that moves, trade with people, and hopefully, you shall discover how to bribe your way onto the next level. I feel this is one of the best platform adventure games I have ever played and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

LINKS

 - AtariMania has Elf listed within their ST database.
 - Here is a walkthrough but I advise using it only when absolutely necessary!
 - Fancy 99 pets? Then type in CHOROPOO during gameplay.
 - Fancy some hints?
          -> Tweet Tweet, that cute little bird is hungry.
          -> Red Indian's love feathers.
          -> Toilet paper... ahem.. surely too easy?
          -> That big guy just loves roast chicken. Yum!