Americana's first Spectrum budget game presents nine little puzzles to test and train your reactions and visual abilities on the path to complete mind-over-matter control. After each test you are shown a screen with a Sidha in his meditative position. The higher your score in each individual game, the higher the holy one rises on the reward screen and the closer you get to mastery of Levitation. So the inlay says, at any rate...
The first test evaluates your reactions. The screen shows four numbered Sidhas. Pressing Z' causes one of them to disappear at random. As soon a Sidha leaves, press the corresponding number key ... Two clocks at the top of the screen show how fast you reacted. The aim, as in all the tests, is to score 1000 points.
Vibrant Vision is test Number Two. The screen shows a square with a doorway in the middle. Two lines appear fora fraction of a second behind the door, one line slightly longer than the other you have to decide which one is Igngest.
For successful levitation the eyes must move in perfect harmony with the body. Using the joystick for the next test you must keep the Sidha as close as possible to a moving target. The routine lasts two minutes, and points are lost for straying too far from the mobile target.
The fourth test involves matching shapes to numbered examples in a race against the clock. Only times of forty seconds or less lead to respectable scores here.
Mind-body Mastery is the fifth game. Eight mazes have to be traversed in less than 1 minute 40 seconds. Contact with the maze walls adds a penalty to the clock.
Eight numbered shapes appear at the top of the screen in the sixth test of Agile Alertness. As the Sidha moves along under each shape on the main screen, its identifying number has to be keyed in. Complete the game in less that 45 seconds to get closer to spiritual perfection.
Inner Integration requires the Player to spot angular shapes hidden in abstract patterns, tracing the outlines with a cursor.
All ten patterns must be found in under 1 minute 40 seconds.
The final test, Fluent Function involves counting rows of l ittle Sidhas and entering the tally into the computer. Second time around, the symbols change and become digits just to add to the confusion.
The eight games are accessed from a menu, and can be practised over and over until perfection is reached. At any stage, calling up the Levigram produces a graphic display of your achievements so far on the path to perfection.
Control keys: different for each sub-game
Keyboard play: no problems
Use of colour: simple
Sound: beepy tunelets and so on
Skill levels: one
Screens: 9 little games plus score screen and levitating monk
'The Secret of Levitation is one of the strangest games I've ever played and reminds me of the first games that you typed in from magazines. The bask idea is very simple and the graphics are very bask. The game does have a certain something, how - ever, that keeps you at it for ages. I played The Secret of Levitation for about an hour before I got bored with it, and I still hadn't taken off. I'm sure this game would have been better priced at £1.99, but not a bad effort at the budget market.'
'I haven't seen a game like this for ages, I was beginning to believe that software houses had learnt their lesson that games like this don't sell, even if they am dressed up with an original name. I didn't really have any joy playing this game. The graphics are a little poor- a few floating Gurus here and there - but they do their job. The sound is also sub-average. Not much here to keep me interested for any length of time.'
'I might have liked this game if there was a bit more to it. As it is, it's just a series of simple puzzles. Maybe some would argue that nine totally different games represent good value for money at £2.99, but I'm afraid I just don't agree. The graphics are below par, and much more could have been done to bring this product up to the sort of standard I expect. Overall, a very BASIC game that I don't think is worth much of anyone's time or money.
|Use of Computer||42%|
|Value for Money||48%|
If you fancy learning to fly then US Gold's cheapie label has the game for you. I said fly but I didn't mean supersonic fighters or Branson-style jumbo jets... no this is the real McCoy - yer actual levitation.
Mind you, the idea of levitation is somewhat of an after-thought to tie nine, otherwise totally unconnected programs together to produce an entire game. To be fair, it's best to think of the game as a collection rather than an individual title.
All nine programs are linked together by a high score. Once you achieve a score of about 1000, Sidha, an Indian chappie in the lotus position, gets to rise high above the ground (without the aid of a curry), transform himself into an ethereal form and float happily away through the top of the screen, Far out!
You'll need either very fast and accurate reactions or a damn good memory to play most of the games. Try taking your finger off a key when one of foul Sidhas disappears whilst pressing another one to indicate which Sidha vanished.
The memory tests are much more um.. er.. I've forgotten... yes interesting even if they are a little reminiscent of an IQ test. First you have to match up patterns, trace around a specific pattern in a jumbled mass of lines and then you have to remember which patterns - from a random selection - were displayed on-screen for 30 seconds.. and all against the clock! Phew!
It may not sound very interesting but each game has a very competitive edge and there all very addictive - to the point of frustration.
The Secret Of Levitation has none of the inventiveness, originality and graphic flair of some of the more upmarket games but it does have something... and I'm not just talking about low price.
|Value For Money||9/10|
You want weird? We got weird! A computer program that evaluates your levitation potential!
Americana is the label but it sounds more specifically like California, home of cults and kooks.
To be a successful levitator you'll need a perfect balance of mind and body - plus the ability to sit in the all important aerodynamic lotus position. The nine games here test your hand and eye - you're left to your own devices when it comes to the contortions.
Test Number 1 is Rapid Reactions. Four figures sit side by side. Immediately one vanishes you transfer your finger from the Z key to the number of the absent aviator. Next up is Vibrant Visions because every levitator needs a highly developed nervous system. This time you have to say which of two lines is longer, the problem being that you only see them for fractions of a second.
Hand-Eye Harmony is a handy test of how well your body responds to your brain. A small target blips round the screen while you try to keep a similarly small character as close as possible to it. Peak Perception is simple, matching one object with its identical twin in a row of five, aiming for lightning recognition.
Ten mazes provide a test of Mind-Body Mastery as you race to complete their tangled paths. You'll also need Agile Alertness if you're indulging in man-powered flight. This a variation on speedy shape recognition so be alert - the aviation world needs more lerts! Of course inner integration can't be omitted and it's tested by tracing out a simple shape hidden in a web of lines.
And so the tests keep on coming.
After each one you see your master, Sidha, sitting cross legged and as your score clocks up he starts to float. At 700 he's looking good, radiating the energy of the Unified Field.
At 800 and it's off with the physical and into his ethereal togs in preparation for scores of 900 plus when he zooms off the top of the screen for a little heavenly cruising.
You also get a Levigram graph of your total scores to give you a unified picture of your potential for flying with the Red Arrows without a plane.
There's no great overall reward - though I suppose anybody scoring top marks will be walking on air.
A totally bizzare collection of abstract games, all presented in a tongue in karma fashion (at least I hope it's not meant to be educational).
Not perhaps the most addictive release ever but it's a highly playable, silly way to test your basic mental and physical skills.
Joystick: Interface II, Kempston, cursor
Reviewer: Jerry Muir
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