Saturday 11 June 2016

Snokie (Atari 8-bit review)

Developer: Yves Lempereur, Alain Marsily
Publisher: Funsoft
Released: 1983

Snokie is a side-scrolling platform game that was also released on the Commodore 64 in 1983.

Playing as a young sno-bird the objective is to rescue your girlfriend from the evil grodies. To do this you must traverse through a snow cave and beat all seven of its gameplay sections. Moving from left-to-right, the action involves jumping over gaps, sliding down the ice, and avoiding obstacles and perilous cracks. The gameplay is tough (especially considering you only have three lives) but it has an addictive quality that sees you wanting to progress to find out what lies ahead. It also has an impressive amount of depth for a 1983 title, as each of the seven sections have their own unique challenges. For example, one area tasks you with jumping between moving platforms to avoid water, while another sees you dodging laser beams that fire up and down the screen. All are really fun to play and manage to test your platforming skills in different ways. It's immensely satisfying when you finally master a section, especially when you've lost so many lives beforehand! The constantly depleting timer also adds some much needed intensity and helps to keep you on edge. However, the controls can occasionally be unresponsive and refuse to register your jump commands which can lead to a few cheap deaths. Also, while it's a bit harsh to criticise Snokie's length (given the time period of release) it is very short and once you've completed the first level there's literally nothing else to see; no additional enemies, obstacles or layouts are available and the only aspect that changes is the game's speed. Even if you make it through the tougher second level each subsequent stage attacks you with the same intensity and doesn't increase in difficulty which seems like a real missed opportunity.
Snokie is a great platformer with lots of personality and some nice variety in its level design. Although it has a few control issues and is perhaps an all-too-brief adventure, what's here is a joy to play and anyone who loves platforming games will have a blast trying to complete each cave section.
Random trivia: Yves Lempereur and Alain Marsily also worked together on a shoot-em-up for Atari 8-bit computers called Flak (1984).

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