This is the second of the two Spanish games from Dinamic Soft to be released by Gremlin this month (the other being the boxing simulation, Rocco). It is, in its simplest form, a platform game cum arcade adventure. So why Profanation? Well, it's not that it might be blasphemous to buy or even play there's nothing remotely immoral about it. Neither has it got anything to do with the fact that a few profanities will escape your lips during play. No, the profanity is the Pharoah's curse that has been inflicted upon our poor hero and intrepid explorer, Johnny Jones (Pause for breath) Gasp! Shock! Horror!
Yep, the highly inquisitive Johnny's gorn and got himself trapped in the Temple of Abu Simbel, erected over 3,000 years ago by Ramses II himself, no less. This temple wasn't the only thing left behind by the Pharoah (cue Vince Price voiceover) No, there was also the threat that an evil spell would be set upon anyone brave or foolhardy enough to enter the Pharoah's tomb! All the temple's secrets remained hidden from the curious eyes of humanity for over 30 centuries. That was, until JJ decided to take a look. Now he's been turned into a hideously deformed . . . well, thing is the best description I can think of (I don't think he looks so bad, in fact he's quite cute - he looks rather like an armless purple spud on legs, with a large nose and for some strange reason he's always smiling obviously nose something we don't!).
So now JJ's in a mess, or rather a tomb. (Cue tense muzak...)Can JJ free himself from the spell and find his way to the mortuary chamber and discover its secrets...? Well he can if he can get out of the first location! The Temple itself consists of 45 chambers, each containing its own platform arrangement and particular group of nasties. Most of the nasties move in regular, predictable patterns while others are stationary problems such as spikes that shouldn't be fallen on. Other cosmetic things adorn the locations such as spider webs and skeletons. The screen flips to the next location on moving from chamber to chamber rather than scrolling.
Large slabs of stone are present in some locations, blocking further progress and they can only be moved by 'collecting' the correct 'keys' (touching small blocks with heiroglyphs on them). There are also a number of traps throughout the temple's 45 locations that are only noticable once you've fallen into one! You soon learn what's what. Deeper into the temple there's a large coloured diamond (I won't say what that's used for), deadly pools, stalactites that fall and crumble, snakes, mummies, a row of stepping stones over a river of pirhanas and some damn-near-impossible-to negotiate Van der Graff generator thingies amongst a multitude of other objects.
Control is simple left/right movement with two heights of jump (depending on how far you need to safely leap) - a normal jump or an extra high one. You initially start with ten lives believe me, you need 'em and one is lost each time you hit something nasty, such as a deadly water drip, a spinning monolith or even some spikes for example (usually found in traps).
The instructions are deliberately sparse, giving only a brief scenario, the keys used and how to load the game (always useful). This is to allow you to find out things for yourself... well there are arcade adventure overtones, after all.
Control keys: O/P left/right, Q-T/A-G high/low jump Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: very good
Skill levels: 1
'This is one hell of a difficult game to play, but one I didn't find too off putting because of it. The graphics are very good, the main character being humorously and well animated. I particularly like the way he looks innocently around if left standing doing nothing for a while. Other characters and objects are very well defined/animated and colour clash is very rare (even when it does occur it's rarely offensive). The title screen music wasn't bad, nor were the. sound effects. Although Profanation doesn't offer anything outstandingly original in terms of gameplay, it does offer a tough challenge for it's price'
'Ten lives, that's surely a generous helping... or is it? Well, if perhaps another zero was added, then it would feel about riot. This is a pretty evil game, it s got lots of nasties in store to kill off the unwary adventurer. The graphics are great, they really give an authentic, spooky atmosphere. To compliment this, you are portrayed as a zany-looking creature. Abu Simbel is simply a brill game that is as hard as it is good. Its difficulties will frustrate you, while its charms will addict you. Not for the casual player: pro's only!'
'Those of you who despise platform games will probably find yourself loathing this one as it is incredibly difficult and proves too frustrating to be worth playing for any great length of time. There's not a great deal new about it, with the usual monotonous left/right/jump stuff that is found in your average platform game. The graphics are the most appealing aspect of the whole game with some excellent sprites and a great use of colour all round. The sound wasn't too hot and the title screen music drove me up the wall. Still, any platform freaks who still enjoy this sort of thing will probably love it, but the rest of you shouldn't expect too much.'
Ross: If you're looking for exotic moments of Eastern promise, then get back to your Turkish Delight. Abu Simbel Profanation may be set in Egypt, but it's about as full of oriental mystique as a Chinese take-away. The graphic backdrops make decent scenery but unfortunately, there's nothing too theatrical about the action.
Forget the idea of majestic looking Egyptian Pharaohs, the man whose strings you have to pull is more of a blob on legs. His movements are jerky rather than heroic, and he escapes the collision detection pretty successfully at times.
Timing your jumps in the first screen is enough to try the patience of a mummy. Also, immortality in this game is a little mundane. When you lose one of your many lives, you reappear at the point where you entered the room. This is no joke as often you've spent a while trying to defeat one obstacle, only to be killed by another further into the room.
It's all pretty mediocre stuff, and I doubt Cleopatra would be charmed if she played it. 4/10
Rick: You can tell why Gremlin calls this Profanation I'd be swearing if I was permanently stuck in this Egyptian hokum. 4/10
Dougie: Everything seemed against me, including the jerky graphics. I liked the idea of the game... but the reality never quite came up to the expectations. 3/10
MEET Johnny Jones, no relation whatsoever to Indiana. It is clearly coincidence that Johnny also spends his time leaping through the death traps of a forbidden Egyptian temple.
Spanish software house Dinamic has licensed its successful game to Gremlin Graphics so we too can thrill to purple blob Johnny's attempts to reach the mortuary and free himself from the curse of Ramses iI.
We are not told whether he's a purple blob because of the curse or because he was born that way, but who cares? Profanation is a viciously difficult jump-and-dodge game, programmed in vivid graphics which lift it above the usual run of Manic Miner bandwagon passengers.
You will have to be pixel-perfect to surmount some problems. The acidic drops which abound in the cavern complex can usually be jumped if you judge the timing correctly.
If you still can't get past them try getting Johnny right on the edge of the platforms, just out of range of the splash, before you jump.
Later you will discover some really filthy tricks - there are sections of ceiling, two on screen three, where jumping enables you to spider-walk on the roof. Gremlin gives absolutely nothing away in the packaging, and you are in for a real lulu of a brainbuster if you seriously intend to get through all 45 screens.
While there is nothing particularly original about Profanation, it is one of the best we have seen.
Publisher Gremlin Graphics
SUPPLIER: Gremlin Graphics
The spirit of Indiana Jones is alive and well and living inside the lost Temple of Abu Simbel created for the Spectrum by those innovative Spanish programmers at Dinamic and brought to you lucky people by Gremlin.
Yes, it's another platform arcade, collect-all-the-treasures game but with extra added style, fun and addictiveness.
You play the part of Johnny Jones, Indiana's third cousin twice removed, I suppose - who is a general all-purpose superstar and explorer. Poor old Johnny has fallen victim to the curse of Pharoah Ramses II who built the Temple of Abu Simbel over 3000 years ago.
Our hero must free himself from the spell - which appears to have turned him into a Gribbly-like character - a round purple body and big feet! To do this, he has to explore the many levels of the mysterious temple and discover the mortuary chamber - where a secret is hidden.
You have to guide Johnny through the labyrinth of chambers packed with traps and puzzles. Beware of the deadly spike filled pits and dead ends could end up staying in the temple until you rot!
Profanation is best played with a joystick - but there are keyboard options of course.
The graphics are interesting and well produced, the hero is a cute little character and the sound effects are good - a nice impression of dripping water is featured on some screens.
The puzzles are quite tricky - but not impossible to solve. This makes the game easy to get into. You'll soon be hooked and want to solve the harder riddles later in the game.
Overall an extremely well presented and entertaining game.
Profanation is certainly the name of the game here, since the idea of easing you into the game gently is not the idea. So you will be tempted to use all sorts of naughty words as you signally fail to get your little purple blob to jump past the acid drip on the first screen.
Reminiscent graphically of Bugaboo and Fred, both products of those immortal Spaniards Paco and Paco, and with names like Victor Ruiz, Florentine Petrejo, Santiago, Morga B and Snatcho on the credits list, we leave you to draw your own conclusions, i.e. they have nothing to do with Paco e Paco except being Spanish. You have to discover the secret of Abu Simbel, the ancient Egyptian temple and free Johnny Jones from the spell.
Since this is just about the most fiendishly difficult platform-style game that you are ever going to meet, or want to meet, you will be doing an awful lot of tooth-gritting. You have to learn that you don't need to stand vertically on top of objects. Wait, calculate and think before you act, hints the program at the beginning - it also hints that "The diamond will show you the way".
This means that on one of the screens there is a diamond. You should note the colour of the gem as at another point in the game you will encounter a screen with five coloured squares on it. You must touch the square that is the same colour as the diamond if you want to progress further. Otherwise things get very profane indeed.
Graphics ate pleasantly executed - as you yourself are from time to time - and the purple blob which is Johnny Jones has a whimsical way of looking around and grinning while waiting for the next move. Could be a distant relative of Roland Rat. All in all, one of tho best tombs I've ever had to work in.
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