Friday, September 22, 2017

Space Monsters

Don't panic!

Space Monsters was developed by Darren Ithell for Goodman PDL and I'm sure you've already guessed it's a conversion of the arcade classic, Space Panic. I'm often a little dubious of 16-bit conversions for old arcade or 8-bit classics. Quite often they don't work or it feels like something is missing. So I had high hopes...

This looks good with each screen having the expected platforms and ladders with horrid nasties roaming. It's instant death if you bump into one so Spaceman has discovered the best way to kill these critters is to dig trap. Once they've foolishly got themselves stuck (for a few seconds) he has the opportunity to whack 'em with his spade which for a splattery death. Spaceman is a truly gruesome fella but, whatever works, right?

Let's check out the different types of nasties that you'll encounter. . .

Oh, the nasties in this game are so... well... nasty!! The Boss is tough but Don is a killer!!

No matter how much I try, I panic!!

Yup, there are only three types of monsters but that doesn't mean their numbers are limited. The first is a "Creature" and is pretty gullible and easy to avoid or kill. However, the other two aren't so dumb and even possess a freakishly cunning AI. "Boss" is hard and "Don", well, he's the real boss. Try not to anger any monsters!!

Also, it takes a greater falling distance to kill the stronger nasties but you are rewarded with lots of extra points. However, if you fail to smash in their faces with a spade, then they angrily climb out looking for blood!! Finally, watch out for that time limit. Don't dawdle and get these beasts killed before your oxygen runs out.

Right, we've got him just where we want him. Quick, club the sucker!!

Input & Output?

The controls are superb which is a relief as I've played a few similar games which would require pixel-perfect alignment with the ladder before you're allowed to climb it. That's always a pain which I'm happy to say doesn't exist here. Digging holes and caving in the heads of aliens is easy and so much fun. My only quibble is not being able to fall down a hole otherwise, the authenticity for both style and gameplay has been perfectly captured.

Visuall, well, it's Space Panic so is everything you expect it to be with a clean-cut design and cutesy sprites. It won't win any awards but who cares? The audio is far better with nice sampled sound effects throughout and that ROAR a monster makes when it climbs out a hole will scare you to death!! I just miss a background tune...

'Creature' is a cute but gullible goon and temporally falling into a hole will make him angry!!

The CryptO'pinion?

Overall, Space Monsters is fantastic and perfectly captures that oldskool vibe in both look and style. The gameplay itself gradually increases for that expected stressful experience and trying to tactically dig the right holes whilst worrying what could creep up on you is truly a PANIC. Yep, this is the best conversion I've played.

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