The Sentinel

The Sentinel

The Sentinel

Peek-a-boo.

Although Geoff Crammond’s name is mostly associated with a series of splendid driving simulations, one of his titles stands apart. Alone. On a hilltop. Watching. Its name: The Sentinel. A unique experience, even for an era where that term could be liberally applied, and one which divided players on its release--a sure sign of something a bit different.

Explaining the game's mechanics in limited space is a tricky business. Sentinel veterans are already familiar with them, and for any interested novices I'd highly recommend learning through play. However, here's my fumbling summary: The Sentinel is an Eye of Sauron simulator. As a would-be "Frodo," you must plot your way around multiple semi-3d, chess-board landscapes, avoiding the deadly gaze of the lofty Eye/Sentinel. Movement is achieved through a series of short-to-medium hops, which require energy to activate. This life-source is topped up by absorbing pieces of the landscape (trees, avatar-husks and, your ultimate goal on each level, the Sentinel itself).

Clear on that? No, thought not. Enlightenment in this title is properly gained through a kind of experimental osmosis. Eventually, it clicks. Then, suddenly, you're hooked; brow furrowed as you tensely plan a way to dodge the rotating guardian and his energy-draining gaze. Your manoeuvres are completely unrestricted, bowing only to the internal rules of the game. Glorious freedom awaits.

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