Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Gyroscope'

Rating:4 User: Digital Prawn

Very good Marble Madness rip-off, which in my opinion at least equals its progenitor. After releasing this one, Melbourne House would actually go on to release official ports of Marble Madness itself. No small wonder, as the dynamics were spot on with Gyroscope.

The speccy was blessed with one of the best implementations, compared to say the notoriously buggy version suffered by Acorn Electron users.

The game dynamics are just so fluid and instantly responsive as you use QZIP keys or joystick to try to adeptly control the gyroscope as it is influenced by the contours and features of each level. It's really optimised for speed and with the gyroscope often (but not always) being the only thing moving on the screen, the speeds involved can be quite fast, for example the amount of speed you need to get up a very steep ramp is pretty high. The game also sports a very realistic if simple physics engine with seemingly constant high framerate, regardless of speed. Levels are bigger than the screen area and it's very sensible that vertical scrolling effectively pauses the game for a second or two, before returning control to the player as you move downwards through the level.

Again, it's another game where skill can be improved after a bit of play, and its certainly needed to be improved for the later levels. There are various hazards such as fatal enemy sprites and other mechanisms that can throw you off the path to success.

Intro music and level completion music are quite snappy and in game sound is of the typical machine code affair, suitable enough for the game, if a little "rough sounding" and grating at times.

If I have any gripe it is that occasionally you can be really unlucky by losing a life in certain places, causing multiple lives to be lost due to the fact the position of the gyroscope is restored near a problematic area. I think this is generally known as "infinite death syndrome" or something. For example it's very bad to die in an area where you'll be repositioned in front of a force-imparting arrow near a hole in the floor as you'll keep getting pushed down the hole.

Also, I noticed that the game can scroll downwards but not upwards. Not that it matters, as you wouldn't want to be going back on yourself anyway, but I was a little surprised on finding I would bounce off the top of the screen instead of going back up the level.

Overall though, very good game demanding some nifty quick reactions and skillful control from the player.