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Download Lollypop

Lollypop
 
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2335 kb
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Out of all platformers in history, Lollypop is literally the sweetest. Regardless of how silly some game heroes are, this time you control a little clockwork girlie wrecking enemies by throwing lollypops. Brought to gamers by Brain Bug along with Rainbow Arts, who stood behind the famous Turrican trilogy, Lollypop features 256-colour VGA graphics, smooth scrolling, and major sound card support on the PC. The Amiga version, released only one year later (1995), has only the OCS/ECS colour palette and different music.

At first look the game's idea may seem a bit childish, and at second look even more. An older player may look a bit strange with Lollypop on his/her notebook screen while travelling on public transport; on the other hand, this is the same for almost all jumping games, and computer games in general. In this case, Lollypop is a classic example of the genre with a bit of a slower pace. What makes it special is the authors' care and attention to all the details. There are 8 big levels and many sublevels in the game, and all of them contain a different environment as well as their own enemies and different playstyles.

A subsection can be entered by jumping into it or pressing the keyboard key at the right place. The goal of any level is to collect all the pieces of various mosaics and kill (or rather, sprinkle with lollypops) the boss. In some of the levels you also need to pick up keys for unlocking restricted areas. Parts of the mosaic are dropped by "slaughtered" enemies, or they are hidden in chests spread through the level; some are hidden and need to be called by certain actions, like jumping on or off something. Aside from necessary mosaic pieces and keys, the hero girlie can pick up sweets for points and some positive or negative bonuses: adding or removing health, adding a special ability or causing temporary disease.

As I said, the style of playing depends on each level, but generally it's one of those games where progress comes slowly at first, with some "trying and dying". But then, levels can be replayed quite fast. Some areas or bonuses look inaccessible at first and must be discovered by accident. Sometimes it's not necessary to enter all areas, but going through them will help you to gain some additional bonuses. This game sadly is one of those where losing a life also means losing power (read: the amount of lollypops that can be thrown), which makes further advancing more difficult, sometimes fatal. Lollypop is not an ultra-hard game, but the strength of your candy arsenal is crucial for ease of playing. This is especially true for final bosses, who are usually not as hard to defeat with full shooting power, but attempting to destroy some of them with just the most basic one-lollypop shot may be hopeless.

The levels are huge, crazy and colourful. There are different enemies in each level, and there are plenty of types and a lot of variation in their actions. Sometimes even the main character looks different on the basis of a level's environment. In the level "Her Dreams" the girlie is wearing a nightdress and looks like she recently woke up. In another level she wears a Santa Claus outfit. The first few areas are OK, being nicely drawn and attractive for child players, but later levels are so "sweet" that some people could call it bad taste. In this case, however, it's just the artistic style that best suits the game's theme.

For accessing advanced levels without replaying previous ones, there is a system of generated codes which contains not only the level itself, but also the heroine's state of health and firepower. It's not possible to save your position in a stage; in this genre, I see no reason why it should be. With more than three lives chosen in the main menu, it's impossible to continue past Level Three.

One thing I must point out is the music: The sound samples are good, though usually short, but the music is great and there is one tune for every level and even sublevel! Together, it's an unusual amount of music for a single game, and all the melodies fit their environment perfectly.

I hadn't played this game at the time it was released (I had only heard about it), but recently when I tried Lollypop I found it to be one of the best 2D platform games on the PC/Amiga, and maybe on any computer game system. Sadly it can't be said that this is a classic piece that everyone knows. There was never any big hype around it, but the reviews were positive. Maybe it's because of the childish themes and look, not enough advertising, or the already-falling fame of game developer Factor 5. Maybe it was published too late on the Amiga - whose community was usually able to create a cult around some titles, but by then it was already too weak - and PC players never took jumping games as seriously as others. But it's definitely worth a try even if you don't like candies.

Controls:

(Don't forget to turn on autofire in the game menu)

[cursor keys] - movement and jumping
[down] - also for activating levers
[CTRL] - fire
[BACKSPACE] - flash
[ENTER] - entering sublevels

Increase cycles in DOSBox to 4500. On 3000 the game is fully playable, but sometimes little slowdowns may occur.


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Reviewed by: Rodney or Die / Screenshots by: Rodney or Die / Uploaded by: Rodney or Die / share on facebook
 

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