At last! Steg has arrived. We first previewed this slimy caper ages ago, we even saw a demo of it in SU. So there we were, sitting back in our chintzy chairs wondering when the full game would pop through the letterbox.
It didn't come, and then we read a review of Steg in SU. Hurrah! Any day now, it would be with us. So we waited, and waited. It didn't come so we called CodeMasters and asked them where our copy of Steg was. Had they forgotten us? They were a tad bewildered. "It isn't ready yet. We've only got a demo version of it. Its not going to be finished for ages 'cos the programmer's gone away for a while." But now the programmer has returned to his office and Steg has arrived. Is it worth the wait?
Steg is a slug with loads of children to feed. He's got to capture little worms in bubbles, which can then float upwards to the T'yungunz and get eaten. On each level you've got to make sure that you keep a certain number of T'yungunz in worms 'cos if they're not fed then they'll shuffle off this mortal coil and appear on screen as little tombstones. This sentimental ploy is probably meant to make you feel incredibly guilty and it works. You have, in effect, just killed your children.
In its most basic form, Steg is a platform game. But as Steg is a slug he can't actually jump from platform to platform. Instead, he slimes around the walls, slowly moving upwards and blowing sticky bubbles. It might sound like a bit of fun to us humans, but blowing bubbles is serious business if you're a slug. In fact, it could kill you if you're not careful. Y'see Steg's bubble-blowing capabilities are directly linked to his energy bar. He has to take a very deep breath, hold it 'til the worm wriggles into the capture area and then blow - too much holding his breath and he'll suffocate.
A lot of the worm-filled bubbles don't float upwards to the T'yungunz. they get stuck under platforms and you have to crawl up and nudge them down and then try and send them upwards again. Then some of them are burst by spikes or blown apart by terrible wind machines. Steg is a very tricky game indeed. You do get some help, by sliming over the power-ups you can increase your blowing power, speed up, make your legs expand to extreme lengths or fly! The jet packs let you move up the level so you can see just how those T'yungunz are getting on.
Not only is Stag an original game, it's also a blimmin' addictive one. It really is too much seeing all those baby T'yungunz die. You just have to have another go at rescuing them. The graphics are fine, you can see exactly what you're doing and there are no problems at all with the controls. Slog is a spanky little slimey bubble of a game and I want to take it home!
The Codies seem to be specialising in weirdness, especially with the star of this game - Steg the Slug! Guide him through loads of treacherous levels as he attempts to feed his hungry children while collecting bionic slug packs and nitrous-oxide speed-ups!
Steg is strange concept, but an awesome game. The controls are responsive and there's loads to do. Yet another winner from Codemasters. Also available on Super All Stars Compilation.
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Mark Patterson
Game plots come and go and when a totally original idea comes out it tends either to be completely obscure and unplayable or extremely interesting and addictive, Lemmings being a prime example of the latter. Well Codies, masters of the strange storyline (and it must be admitted the odd simulator or two hundred) have managed to top the scales yet again.
Steg is a slug, pure and simple. He doesn't have any nasty vices like drinking or smoking or eating ten tins of beans every day, in fact his only worry in life is the fact that as an asexual invertebrate he (she? it?) can't stop producing babies, known as t'yungunz. Naturally, as a responsible parent and potential computer games star, Steg must feed these hungry little creatures. Herein lies my only problem with Steg. You see, I always thought that birds and rodents ate maggots (and for that matter slugs) and that slugs ate grandad's cabbage and other yummy vegetable matter, but it seems that Steggy and his yungunz are unusually carnivorous and eat maggots (though presumably not other slugs) too.
Living in a strange underground world Steg isn't bothered at all by the aforementioned predatory animals, he has much more on his plate. As he travels through the shafts and corridors of his home catching maggots and trying to deliver them safely back to his hungry brood he is, himself, quite invulnerable. However, because he must trap and imprison each maggot in a bubble of slug slime which then floats upwards and away, hopefully towards his offspring, the precise location for trapping the maggots must be chosen carefully and the little green fellow must follow them all the way home. This is because Steg tunnels are littered with blowing bellows, sharp objects and various traps and obstacles, all of which have been designed by a benign maggot god to effect their escape by bursting Steg's bubbles and thus freeing them.
To help him along there are various energy, speed and score power ups as well as a special bionic slug pack consisting of robot legs, a rocket backpack and a nitrous oxide booster. These can be picked up and give him super speed for a limited period.
Steg is a very playable game. It takes a little while to get used to what is, admittedly, a very strange concept and strange gameplay. However excellent graphics and smooth sprite control combined with more tunnels than you've probably ever had to explore before in search of maggots, means that this game is a very worthy purchase, made even more so by the fact that it is completely original and still only £3.99. Unbelievable.
Label: Code Masters
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Alan Dykes
STEVE: This game is a a little gem. When I started to play it I was impressed by the graphics and overall feel but I seriously doubted the playability and lastability margins of such a strange storyline. I was proved wrong. Feeding Steg's offspring takes lots of skill and thought and promises to keep you busy for a long time.
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