|The First 100% QuickBasic Game Review Magazine
Updated November 20, 2004
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"Mr. Martians says it's time to take out the invaders!"
Decades have passed since the Evaals invaded
the Martian people, and since then the martians have advanced in peaceful
technologies, including special teleporters and nuclear reactors. In search
of new energy sources, the Evaals invade the Martians again, easily taking
their space stations over and covering the martian's precious nuclear reactor
The only martian to courageously stand
up for the Martian race, Mr. Martians picks up his martian gun. He knows
that the crystal poles are the way the Evaals block the transporters and
gather energy for their wicked purposes. If he can avoid the traps and
destroy the crystals, he can free his martian friends...
use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
graphics are rendered and well-executed, featuring detailed tilesets, technically
impressive scrolling, and flicker-free character design. New enemies also
get introduced as the levels go on, while the level of quality stays
intact. Joakim obviously worked on this project with the same fervor from
beginning to end.
On the bad side,
Martian Venture suffers from a shortage in graphics. The same background
and tileset is used for all of the game levels, which start to get tiring
on the eyes when the levels get more difficult. It would have been nice
to see some occasional changes in background, in order to keep the game
smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|Good. Martian Venture
is proof that you don't necessarily need a big soundtrack or a lot of sound
effects to muster up a good Sound/Music score, because Joakim is able to
take what sounds there are in Martian Venture and use them effectively.
Explosions are synchronous, the Martian Guns are nice and loud, and the
use of a popping sound when you explode is a charming addition to the game.
precision of control and involvement of character within its universe
is a fairly simple-structured platform game, with smaller worlds and an
emphasis on precision and good timing versus action. The goal of each level
is use your martian gun to shoot down all of the energy shields so that
the level exit will open. Enter the level exit to beat the level.
Sounds simple enough?
Think again. Even though your gun shoots at rapid fire, the enemies are
fairly efficient shots as well, and a head-on battle just doesn't work.
Instead, a little cunning and evasion has to be used. Jumping over enemy
fire or retreating to ladders to reach upper ground at times is a must.
That, combined with time limit, auto-save, and unlimited lives for each
level, pretty much make up Martian Venture's gameplay.
Joakim does a great
job in familiarizing gamers with Martian Venture's gameplay elements by
including a tutorial level, complete with in-game text hints that pop up
as appropriate. The tutorial even reacts when you do something that doesn't
correspond with the text hints, in order to keep you on track with the
game lessons. This is a very nice touch.
creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
|If you don't read
the Readme files that come with PC games, you might have missed Martian
Venture's storyline altogether, since that's the only place you can be
introduced about the game's plot. Because of this, Martian Venture feels
like one of those games where the story was just slapped onto the game
at the end so that the game could have one. It's a shame too because the
story is actually pretty well-written, if it's given the chance. Better
integration between story elements and the in-game action would help to
boost this score.
|Replay Value (n.)
timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated
again and again
|Many of the later
levels in Martian Venture can get very frustrating, and the game's auto-save
feature makes it impossible to backtrack to an earlier level without having
to start a new game. However, Joakim solves this problem by throwing in
a level editor, which allows you to play any level in the game (including
levels you haven't beat yet) and make your own levels at the same time!
This extra feature not only added to the replay value, but it also helps
vent our some frustration by making some "kinder" levels to help alleviate
the challenge level.
strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and
|If you like dodging
and jumping over lots and lots of obstacles, then you'll either love Martian
Venture for having a lot of it or dislike Martian Venture because it features
too much of it. Shooting down enemies isn't too much of a problem as long
as they're within range and sight of your gun, but trying to get the momentum
necessary to jump over some areas properly without overshooting is the
true test of skill that makes up the bulk of this platformer.
|Fun Factor (n.)
overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|Despite the multiple
levels and enemies, there seems to be something missing from Martian Venture.
The engine itself is top-notch, but the level layout is tortuous, and develops
from dull to annoying very quickly. It's almost as if the level order was
chosen at random!
is also quite a chore; oftentimes the hero is either jumping into areas
he can't see, or trying to build momentum off a very thin pillar. The number
of times I either built too little momentum and fell of a hole or built
too much momentum and jumped into the next hole is so numerous that it's
tiring just remembering the sheer number of practice and guessing games
it took to get past all of Martian Venture's levels.
That said, the level
editor is a bit of a boost, but it doesn't allow you to make Martian Venture
into the intense shooting game it ought to be. One of the reason platform/action
games like Contra work is because the kick you get from blowing things
up, and being able to use your weapons for senseless acts of carnage. Martian
Venture has the firepower to handle a game like that, which is rare in
Martian Venture is
probably one of the best platform game engines made in QB to date. At this
point, some extras would take Joakim's game over the edge. If there was
a high score system, some different graphics, some zippy music, and a more
forgiving level and enemy design, this game could turn out to be a real
classic. But as of now, the first chapter in the Martian Venture saga emphasizes
too much on enemies that are difficult to shoot down, and tight levels
that have too much time pressure to enjoy.
Reviewed by Vance Velez
||To solve: 4 hours Final Rating:
download Martian Venture (200KB), click here.
you're unzipping this program in DOS, you may have to use the -d option.
play Martian Venture, unzip the file and run "GREEN.EXE".
Back to Platform
out of 35 points
Highs: One of the most versatile QB platform
engines to date, and a built-in tutorial level pulls you into the game
Lows: Very little ambiance; graphics do
not vary from level to level and Martian has no music.
V Planet! Archive
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