OH I CAN'T COPE WITH THIS! A NEVER ENDING STORY. WHAT'S THE POINT IN THAT? IT'S ALMOST AS BAD AS ONE OF THEM BOOKS YOU GET FROM THE LIBRARY WHICH SOME GIT HAS TORN THE LAST PAGE OUT OF! NICK ROBERTS IS THE MAN WITH THE SELLOTAPE...!
Everyone knows of the first Never Ending Story with its terrible theme tune by Limahl from Kajagoowotchmorcalit. 'It had a big dog thing in it, didn't it?' said Lucy when she heard we were getting this game in. Yes dear, keep taking the tablets - you'll feel much better (patronizing git - Ed)! As you might have gathered by now, the games based around the block busting movie of the same name. The story goes a little bit like this...
Bastian Bux (that's you) starts to read the magical book again and the voice of the Childlike Empress (what an imaginative name - Ed) calls to him for help. While engrossed in reading he's spirited into Fantasia (isn't that where Mickey Mouse lives?) where he meets the inhabitants of the Silver City. While poking his nose around the city he suddenly gets pounced on by loads of giants (a bit unsporting really) so he legs it and bumps into the Lava Man and Windbride who explain the perils of the land of Fantasia.
Bastian is out to discover the reason for the emptiness billowing out from Castle Horok, which is slowly destroying Fantasia. And with six levels of action and many a monster to stop the adventurer in his quest, this is a game with lots of lastability.
The Ship Of Secret Plots is the first setting, with giants that step on your head if you're not careful. This is shown in a horizontal scrolling platform style with lots of detailed backgrounds and challenging gameplay.
A pilot's licence is needed next as Bastian jumps onto the back of his faithful friend Falkor (excuse me! - Ed) and has the flight of his life! From the 3-D viewpoint, control Falkor and crush the evil dragons following you against the walls of the canyons of Fantasia.
When Bastian finally reaches the castle he rescues Atreyu and bops off a few more weird and wonderful enemies that keep cropping up! Armed with a spray can, he fights off more giants... what does he think a spray can is going to do for him?
A ride through the Orchid Forest and a splash in the river finishes off this extravaganza of a game. The great thing about The Never Ending Story II is the number of different game styles. You start off with a horizontal scroll and lots of platforms and stairs, then a 3-D flying section, vertical scrollers, aerial views and parallax scrolling are all included on later levels. The big problem all the CRASH team found was that you can't get off the first level.
THEY MADE IT SO HARD!
The idea of having a multi-level game is to start off with something a bit easy to get you into the swing of things and then get gradually harder towards the end. Because level one is a real toughy people are going to give it a hard time when it comes to marking -degrading the whole game. It's a real pity because there are some brilliant backgrounds and the animation on the sprites is excellent.
The game's let down in the sound department more than anything. I couldn't find any jolly tune like the Commodore 64 version had and the only effect was a farty sound when you moved through a door. We had to put some of Corky's James Brown music on the stereo to get us in the mood before playing!
The frustration of playing level one had Corky on the brink of ripping his wig off! The monsters plodding about are so slow and there's no way around them so you have to wait until they come to the end of a platform and push the buggers off.
All that waiting is enough to try the patience of a saint! When you find a door to go through the game looks exactly the same on the other side so it is really difficult to get lost - especially when you haven't got a clue where you're supposed to be going anyway! The Never Ending Story II is a great game, if you're using a cheat to get you through the levels when you get fed up! A classic example of how having the wrong difficulty levels can destroy a game.
NICK ... 76%
'Never having seen either of the 'Never Ending Story' movies, I've no idea what it's about. But at least it doesn't have the ex Kajagoogoo singer warbling 'The Never Ending Stooory' (that's one blessing I suppose). The game itself is okay, but it isn't really my proverbial kettle of fish. Fans of 'wander aimlessly around for hours doing sod all' type games are well catered for, personally I'd rather watch paint dry. To be fair, though, The Never Ending Story II has good gra[hics: the character spites and backgrounds are nicely drawn, although the heros movements are exaggerated as he moves along.(he looks like something out of The Woodentops). Also the creatures on the first level, side on, look like lobsters, which might be an asset in a TV cookery programme (but not here matey Bob). In short this is an above average game if you like the genre.'
MARK … 71%
Have you ever thought at all deeply about the titles of sequels? There are some that are really quite nonsensical. The epoch of absurdity has to be The NeverEnding Story 2 How can something that never ends have a sequel? They should have called it A Bit More Of The NeverEnding Story. Or Never Again, or something.
Before we get down to the game itself I'm obliged to fill you in on the background story. Alas, we haven't got room for the appropriate richly embroidered prose, so here's the cut-down version. There's this book, see, and it's a direct link to the worlds of imagination. A dude named Bastian Balthazar Bux found the book and crossed over to the Nth Dimension, had loads of neat adventures and in the process saved the dream world from the deadly Nothing. But now the Nothing has struck again, so Bastian has to go back and settle its danged hash once and for all.
Phew. Right - the game. I have to admit that I don't have any instructions, which makes things substantially trickier, But in the interests of fair play, I'll just grit my teeth and plunge on ahead. As far as I can make out from the first level, the game is a horizontally-scrolling platform affair, with a touch of the ol' mazey bits thrown in.
You start in Silver City, with baddies erupting out of the floors around you. You can run, climb staircases, and if the baddies are facing away from you, jump past them. Additionally, if they're at the end of a platform then Bastian can bung them off into the sea. Hurrah! The idea to find a rope that will enable you to climb to Level Two, and to do this you have to explore the platforms, occasionally ducking through doors to get "behind" the scenery. The other levels (I think there are seven altogether) follow much the same pattern, with some 3D chase scenes and vertically-scrolling tower-climbing thrown in.
So, what have we got? Well, the graphics are nice, and stand out well despite the detailed backgrounds. There's a fair bit of tension as you sprint along, never sure if a nasty is going to pop out of the ground in front of you, but the trouble is, the game doesn't really grab your attention. There's really nothing to get the old gameplayer's juices flowing and, to put it bluntly, it's dull as heck. Even with the extra features and viewpoints of the later levels, we've seen if all before. If you're into the whole NES phenomena you could conceivably have a jolly time, but for those of us after a thundering good game I'm afraid that it's time to look elsewhere.
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