Sunday, October 22, 2017

9 Lives

It's time once again for some Atari ST box art and today we have 9 Lives. Like most Arc games, this has a simple design but is pretty comical with a laughing cat that reminds me of Tom And Jerry. I also liked the glowing scores from three popular magazines so I knew this was a great purchase... Sadly, they were wrong because 9 Lives is incredibly difficult to play, bordering on impossible! At first, I thought this might be because of the controls which take a little time to master but I actually think they are perfect. I find it easy jumping up through the platforms and those long leaps are guided by a meter to control the strength. The animations throughout are absolutely brilliant and I love how Bob struts his stuff walking across my screen or when he clings onto a ledge before pulling himself up. In fact, the graphics are always superb with every screen highly detailed with beautiful landscapes and characters. Audio isn't left behind, the most gorgeous YM Chipmusic plays and it's a belter too! Yep, 9 Lives certainly looks a sounds superb.


What -I feel- is wrong are the gameplay mechanics that present a number of awkward flaws which irk me. The enemy sprites are far too big so the screens are overly cluttered and Bob cannot help but walk into something nasty. Sure, I can knock them out with my amazing woolly yo-yo but that doesn't last nearly as long as it should before they're up and awake again zapping my lifeforce. Level design is incredibly unfair and requires a psychic gamer who knows about every off-screen trap - those darn spikes!! Also, for a cat, Bob cannot fall far without dying, however, this does produce a hilarious animation effect not too dissimilar to Wile E. Coyote from the Road Runner cartoons.


Personally, I think 9 Lives had the potential to be a great game but I doubt it was produced (nor tested) by actual gamers so I can imagine most will play this once or twice before giving up. Which is a shame? To think I bought this... but it's still a piece of ST history so I will cherish this game. Just make sure you enable the trainer option!!


 - Go on I dare you to play!! Floppies downloadable via Old Games Finder with a hard drive version by 8BitChip.

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