Eric And The Floaters

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Eric And The Floaters sounds a bit like a pop group of the mid-sixties; it also suggests an aerial game of some sort. Both guesses would be wrong, for this new game from Japanese Hudson Soft is an underground maze game. So the story goes: Hidden beneath the rabble of the Brick Lane (wherever they are) are the remains of a lost civilization. Eric hopes to find part of them by blasting the rubble away with his bombs. But danger lurks in the Lanes, deadly inhabitants of the old system called The Floaters, will kill Eric if they touch him. He must destroy them using his bombs.

The Floaters are normally purple, but ocassionally, like any arcade player, the lose their tempers and get red in the face. In this state they tend to actually hunt Eric down instead of placidly floating around.

The screen display is of a large and reasonably complex maze form, each maze screen being separate. In stage one there is only one Floater, but these increase in number as the game proceeds. Walls may be blasted away by the placing of bombs, especially as sometimes there are totally closed parts to the maze. Objects revealed after the dust has settled may be collected for points by running over them. Once all the floaters have been killed in a stage, the bonus points remaining from the original allowance at the start of the stage are added to your score.

An element of strategy is required in the positioning of the bombs, which leave you about two and a half seconds before they explode. The game has 20 stages, during which the number of hidden items vary.

This is a fairly original game from Hudson Soft. I liked the general layout and game type. Control was reasonable using the keyboard, but unfortunately Sinclair Interface 2 was the only joystick option. I think this is a little selfish of them. Of course, they want to sell their own interface, but not catering for other interface key mapping is just unfair. The idea of Eric And The Floaters is novel for a maze game, but it is spoiled by unresponsive key control. However, the graphics are pretty good and the game proved to be “almost” addictive.

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