If I mention the words "Uridium" and "Paradroid", I can more or less see rows of C64 and Amiga owners bolting upright. Having witnessed updated versions of both games at the Paragon Hotel near ECTS on Thursday, I can imagine why. When Uridium first materialised on the C64, it was a very simple, devastatingly difficult game by a chap called Andrew Braybrook, who now works in insurance circles. Andrew's game had about eight levels, and the idea was the fly back and forth across the deck of a Dreadnought ship fighting clusters of enemy ships before landing your craft to complete the level. The difficulty was that one collision could kill you off outright, and that landing your ship was no mean feat in itself, especially when that telltale blip-blip-blip noise came up, indicating a missile lock-on... The new GBA version is very much the same, although you now have a life bar to stop you from getting killed repeatedly - it was certainly a welcome addition to me - and the level design has also been tweaked. Other changes include updates to the visuals and the end of the level. Landing your craft is now somewhat easier, and like the 1993 Amiga version of the game, when you land you have to complete a little subgame blasting at the ship's core. Furthermore, levels have been tweaked and instead of just repeating levels 1-4 with tougher enemies, levels 5-8 should be quite different, ala the C64 pseudo-sequel, Uridum+. Uridium Advance will of course feature the game's Manta Fighter in most of its original glory. Although brilliantly animated at the time - even casting rudimentary shadows over its surroundings - the Manta Fighter has been altered to move smoothly in this incarnation, and frames of animation have been rejigged to supplement bombing runs and blasting. From what I played of it, Uridium Advance is every bit as addictive and intense as it once was, and as apparently with many other journalists, I found myself commenting that the game played as I remembered it. Glancing back at the old C64 version on an emulator was almost alien. What's more - Andrew Braybrook himself has given the game his blessing. What stronger recommendation could you ask for? Next up from Jester was Paradroid, both GBA and next-gen console. We didn't get to play either version, nor see the GBA version in action, but Jester is promising the same emphasis on stealth and subversion, and judging from in-game footage of the now-spider-like parasite scampering around and drilling into the back of droids' heads to possess them, this should be an absolute laugh. We've even heard that you can take control of a cow in certain areas - wouldn't that be smart? Also from Jester was the latest version of Music Generator, and we were quite taken with this. Sadly though, you'll have to wait for another time to learn about that one, as I've got to be up and off to ECTS again this morning, and the snoring emanating from my roomie at the Earls Court Travel Inn is causing my head to spin. However, it should prove very interesting to musicians and fans of music alike. Related Feature - Uridium Advance screenshots
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