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                         Review: Spherical Worlds
                            By:  Jason Compton 

While Ken Anderson takes a quick break, it's my turn to review some games
again.  Enter Spherical Worlds, from the 4Matted development team,
produced by NEO of Austria.

I suppose the quickest way to describe Spherical Worlds is as a roughly
Alien Breed (I, II, and Tower Assault) genre of game.  You control a
player, in this case a spherical battle droid, and steer it around in a
top-down world, shooting bad guys, avoiding traps and collecting money and
keys so you can open doors and buy items.

This, in a nutshell, is the game.  But if you insist on the plot, I'll fill
you in.  Basically, it's you against an unknown alien force on a planet
which sounds a lot like the planet from Alien.  That's about all you need
to know.

You'll be going up against the terrain as well as the bad guys, as there
are plenty of opportunities to fall down holes and your droid does NOT
maneuver very well.  It takes a while to get it going, and seemingly even
longer to slow it down.  As such, you'll take lots of headers off the
screen until you get the hang of the game, and even though there is the
option to continue, you don't always get to start back on the same level.

You are initially armed with an unlimited-ammo (but limited auto) machine
gun of some power and a small supply of homing rockets that can fire over
walls and doors to hit individual targets.  You can buy more goods as the
game progresses.

And the best part is, you can figure all of this out without documentation.
I did, because my documentation came only in German.  Oops.

Graphically, the game is not a stunning tour-de-force but the action is at
least very crisp.  Music and sound is acceptable.  The game is not
AGA-enhanced but at the very least seems to be compatible on just about any
configuration you can throw at it (no problems whatsoever installing to
hard drive and playing off of 040 machines).  It even works on the
Cyberstorm 1260, providing you disable the special 060 caches.

One of the standouts of Spherical Worlds is the rather nice rendered intro
that accompanies the game, as well as the (Alien Breed inspired, perhaps?)
pretty level-transition pictures shown as you await your next challenge in
the game.

Spherical Worlds isn't the 3D-pounding intensity that a lot of software
developers have been trying to pump out lately.  In fact, it's a nice
breather.  While I wouldn't say the game is a sleeper, you definitely have
time, at least early on, to plan out your strategy.  When you get sloppy,
that's when you start plummeting to your death, or forgetting that the
floor panel you're crossing is so unstable you need to speed up or else...

My only complaints are few.  The control system may be clumsy for a reason,
but it makes getting started very difficult.  Having only three lives is
pretty harsh considering you can easily lose them all before reaching the
third level, just by falling to your death around various corners.  But
Spherical Worlds is a job well done.

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