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Star Odds
(LS Software)


"The Odds of Saving the Princess are Greatly Against You!!"

While taking a stop on the moon's surface after a brief joyride on your rocketship, you notice a nifty-looking spacey stone on the floor. As you observe the pretty stone, you notice that a note from a beautiful princess is attached... apprarently the evil Stojokorien has captured the princess and his holding her captive on Tirith Moon!

Hoping to be rewarded with the love of the princess, you go back to the your house to pick up the keys to your rocketship. One you establish liftoff, you should be able to plot a course to Stojokorien and laser-blast his rumpus out of Tirith Moon... or will this easy quest turn out being a major challenge?

Graphics (n.)
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
(Very Poor) You know the proverbial "face that only a mother could love?" That's sort of what Star Odds accomplishes in the graphics department. With most QB games belonging in the 16-color EGA or the 256-color VGA category (some of the more skillful programmers are even tapping into the SVGA graphics mode), the 4-color CGA palette used in Star Odds looks incredibly outdated. The art itself is very detailed, but even the most talented artists would be hampered by the limited color choices... I literally felt ill staring at the puke green rooms and dull blue backgrounds.

In defense of Star Odds though, LS Software designed this game long before they knew about QB libraries, QB 4.5, and of the multitude of QB sites on the Internet. Considering that, the flicker-free demos and animations that take place in this game are pretty impressive from a technical standpoint. It's unfortunate though (as you'll soon see in the rest of the review) that the four-color graphics greatly impact the rest of Star Odd's overall score.

Sound/Music (n.)
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
(Very Poor) There are some PC sound effects in Star Odds, but the few pitches used are pretty screechy. Usually you'll hear some sounds only when you do something critical to the game's plot, like talking to a game character or discovering where to use an item during one of the game's puzzles. But the whistling noises the creatures make throughout Star Odds, as well as beepy laser sound effects, just don't do it for me.
Gameplay (n.)The precision of control and involvement of character within its universe vv
Gameplay is the best part of Star Odds, thanks mostly in part to a very well-polished mouse interface. The controls are nice and easy to learn; just click with your mouse to traverse through the game's various barren planets. Click on an alien you bump into along the way to begin a conversation, and click on an item to observe it or pick it up. It's that simple.

To use items, which becomes a more common option halfway through Star Odds, a list of items will typically show up on the lower right of the screen. Click on the item name and then click on where you want to use the item. Be very careful though, sometimes using the item on the wrong place or simply standing in the wrong place at the wrong time can be costly.

Speaking of which, Star Odds does not come with a Save feature. Instead, passwords are given periodically as you progress to key points of the game. So make sure to have Notepad handy to write down a password or two whenever you need to.

Story (n.)
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
It's usually mandatory for "saving the princess" stories to get a poor rating at V Planet, since the plot has been used time and time again in video games. But Star Odds is a little more than the typical princess schtick. Like the Sega Genesis/SNES game Earthworm Jim, Star Odds plays around with the "saving the princess" plot and introduces some original and not-so-original characters along the way. The result of this extra effort, along with the game's Intergalactic theme, make for an average story experience that isn't too action-packed pack but isn't boring either.
Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience can be repeated again and again
A lot of the replaying you'll have in Star Odds happens during the first run you have with the game, since death takes you back to the password screen. Once you save the princess for the first time though, all the challenges you solved are pretty easy to remember. In comparison, the story is pretty to forget and the adventure isn't that absorbing. So, if you do replay Star Odds, it'll be because you need to settle a craving for a Puzzle/Adventure game that you can't get from any other video game genre.
Challenge (v.)
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought and reflexes

Star Odds is a pretty easy game, in the sense that all the puzzles are common sense problems. You won't be asked to do anything so complicated that you're required to use multiple items. Many times using a series of tools in the correct order will solve the problem. For example, in one case you'll have to use an item to open a toolbox. Then you get the tool inside the toolbox and use it on something else. The game won't get any more complicated than that.

However, you will have to record every password you receive in Star Odds. The puzzles indeed are easy, but dying is just as easy. Aliens tend to be hostile unless you're a very gifted negotiator. As long as you take a more intelligent instead of a violent attitude, you should be able to handle anything Star Odds throws at you.

Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
(Very Poor) Star Odds is one of the very rare instances where it's the technical aspect that brings the game down in terms of it's fun factor. It's not so much that there wasn't enough effort put into the graphics department; the lush and articulate backgrounds point to the contrary. Nor does Star Odds suffer in lack of effort in the sound department, as the game comes with a multitude of original PC sound speaker sound effects.

The problem is, the technology behind the game is very outdated. The mouse interface is nicely done, and the gameplay is actually pretty intact. But the CGA graphics just won't cut butter, especially when QB has a reputation of at least delivering quality 256-color graphics. QB gamers waiting for a game that has the panache of a Maniac Mansion, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, or Monkey Island may still find it in Star Odds since there are a considerable number of puzzles to solve and a password system to help guide you through the game. But to conquer Star Odd's less than pleasing graphics and sounds, players will have quite the mountain to climb.

Star Odds Reviewed by Vance Velez

Players 1 player Genre: Puzzle/Adventure Game
Rating To solve: 10-15 min Final Rating: 6/35

To download this game, click here.
Installation Tips
wThis game is mouse-compatible. Make sure it is hooked up when playing this game.
wTo run this game, you must have any version of Microsoft QuickBasic.
wWhen running QuickBasic to play Star Odds, make sure you use the "/l" option.
wOnce Star Odds is unzipped, run "STARODDS.BAS" from QuickBasic.

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