Firetop Adventure - Sizzling Fire or Smouldering Ashes?

Here we are, just over two years since I shared my thoughts on Firetop Mountain, the first release from ino Games. Now I've come to talk to you about that game's spiritual successor, Firetop Adventure. The truth is, the two games don't have a whole lot in common. That's unfortunate for Firetop Adventure, because while it's more aesthetically pleasing, it lacks much of the fun and innovation that made the first game a nice little treat.

The puzzle based nature of the original has been replaced with a more traditional platforming experience. That's not to say that it's purely run and jump through the levels, however. There are still things to do like finding dynamite to blow open doors and rescuing prisoners from their cages. However, it wasn't until spending some time with this game that I truly appreciated Firetop Mountain's single screen, time based puzzle levels. This outing almost felt too "standard" for me.

Fighting A Big Guy

There were a few things that were nice to see in the game. While not unique, the certainly under-used "sit and squish" technique for dispensing with monsters was interesting. Sadly, in the levels I've played there was only one monster that could be killed with this technique. For anything else there's either the bottle that gives you one shot in both directions (left and right), or the globe that lets you dispatch every baddie currently on the screen. It was also nice to have an inventory of sorts, where you can store up to four items for future use on the level you're currently playing. These items will go away when you start a new level, so don't be afraid to use them.

As with any good platform game, there are plenty of obstacles to get in your way. Creatures range from your simple blob like creature to a floating skull like organism with tentacles. There's nothing overly original in this bunch of hooligans, but they do their job. On the inanimate side you have your usual collection of spikes, lava, conveyor belts and other manner of sometimes useful but mostly deadly props. The one thing I was sad to see the return of was the wall cannon. Much like the first game, I found these to be placed and timed to fire in such a way that they were more likely to be downright annoying then challenging or even frustrating. I've restarted level 4 more times than I care to imagine thanks to these cannons.

Because there is no mini-map, the game suffers a bit like its contemporaries in the fact that you sometimes can feel lost. I really think any game that has rooms of a size significantly bigger than what can be displayed should have some way of providing you with an overall layout of the level, if even it's on a different screen than the normal play area. The feature that got to me the most in this game, however, was the save functionality. Basically, you have two options when starting the game. You can either start a fresh game, or load the auto save game. The game automatically saves once you've completed a level. That's all well and good when I complete a level with 3 lives, but when I finish a level with only one life, I might not want that to be my permanent save. The game really needs to either allow multiple saves, or at least ask me between each level if I want to save the game or not.

Rescuing A Prisoner

Graphically the game still retains a retro Super Nintendo feel to it, but the imagery has definitely been kicked up a notch since the last go around. The background seems a bit more detailed, but where the game really shines is in the characters. Not only are the designs a bit better than Firetop Mountain, but this time around everything is animated! It's amazing how much difference that can make in the feel of a game. The only letdown here for me was in the main character himself. For some reason I just really did not care for the design of this character.

For the most part I like the sound effects. Some, like the cannon firing, are spot on. Other sound okay but don't necessarily seem like the best choice for what they represent. The one that really strikes me as odd is the prisoner. First off, both the cry for help and the subsequent "thank you" when you let the prisoners free sound almost identical. It's also a good thing the noise doesn't get played very often, because it's a tad annoying. I really enjoyed the music in Firetop Adventure. Sometimes it was nice just leaving the character at the beginning of the level and listening to the tunes.

Firetop Adventure isn't a bad game by any means, it just doesn't bring anything new to the table. It also took away some of the elements that made the first outing different from the norm. Ino Games has a lot to offer, and I hope that Arkinvader gets them on the upward trend again. Sadly, as of the posting of this review, I am unable to find anyplace where you can buy the full version of Firetop Adventure. However, the demo is available on their web site here.

Final Score: 6/10

Nice review Eric! I haven't

Nice review Eric! I haven't tried this one yet but wish with you that Firetop Adventure was still around.

Syndicate content