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"The Odds of Saving the Princess are Greatly Against
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?
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
||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Odds looks incredibly outdated.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.
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
||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
|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.
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.
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought
|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
||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
||To solve: 10-15 min Final Rating: 6/35
To download this game, click here.
game is mouse-compatible. Make sure it is hooked up when playing this game.
run this game, you must have any version of Microsoft QuickBasic.
running QuickBasic to play Star Odds, make sure you use the "/l" option.
Star Odds is unzipped, run "STARODDS.BAS" from QuickBasic.
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