Monday, 12 November 2012

The Past and times of Yore: Elastomania, la moto elástico

This one is a fairly short review of one of the games I played throughout my schooling years, and I did play a lot, even while at school itself, yes I’ll admit it but I sincerely doubt any person out there wouldn’t have played some kind of game at school, I for one played a fair amount especially during secondary school. Some of the most prominent non-browser based ones have been Blobby Volley, Liero and its successor Soldat, there has been some great browser games too for that time but I won’t go into those. Elastomania, was probably the best non-browser based game that I have every played throughout my entire education, it had something that you just couldn’t work out from the name, or couldn’t tell from watching someone play it.

I could imagine all our peers walking past us wondering why we’re playing this game that looks like it was modelled on a colouring book as we ever so slowly riding this gravity defying motorcycle over some small hills that looks like triangles while throwing our arms back and forth to seemingly flip ourselves up the right way. It must have infuriated them not knowing how or why we were doing this, then again %99 of the time it was us nerdy guys playing and they would have just passed it off as some losers playing some silly game , but in reality they were the ones who were missing out and if they never experienced the joy of computer games in that period of their lives they will probably never enjoy as much as we do now.

Gonna get either my tyres slashed or a haircut here.
But anyway I’m being a bit too dramatic and I suppose I’d better explain the concept first. Elastomania is a (very) 2d platformer game where you control a motorcycle with super extendy suspension and have to navigate through various obstacles collecting apples (some of which change the gravity, of course), and when you’ve collected all the apples in the level you can go and get the flower which finishes the level, and you have to do this all without hitting your head on any part of the course, simple eh? Did I mention that in order to achieve this throughout the game you’ll have to vault yourself backwards and forwards to change the bike’s angle as well as magically flip the bike horizontally so the back wheel becomes the front and vice-versa all the while dodging hazardous objects.

Ah the flower of completement, always so far out of reach.
 This all might sound a bit weird to put together so I was going to provide a helpful video of me attempting a helpful video of me doing my best attempt at the first 3 levels of Elastomania then showing you a video of the pro's doing it, but unfortunately I had a bit of trouble filming the game using fraps. Now the fascination with this game starts with just simply being able to complete the levels then once you’ve done that it goes on to trying to finish them as quickly as possible below which shows speedruns from several Elastomania “pros” at work through the first 18 levels of the game

Holy shizow this guy is smooth.

This coupled with the very popular and essential level editor led to some quite crazy level designs and even Elastomania teams and tournaments.

A fairly silly elastomania custom level.

Team NSB Movie

So as you can see such an odd game became quite serious for some people, not for me though, it was just something for me to do while relaxing between study and also when I had nothing to do and needed to kill some time. The best part about it for me was probably the simplicity and the physics, you need to quickly work out what angle to need to push to be able to reach the platform or land correctly.  I loved hanging upsi-down while riding along facing backwards then coming off the rail and throwing myself forward so I land wheels down. It was a such a simple concept to start with but the player (and players) made it so much more with styles of playing, best times and new maps which again proves the old saying that a good community improves a game’s longevity and popularity.

A 'spiral' styled level, their quite popular
I can’t really explain the greatness that is Elastomania by way of words movies and pictures you just simply have to try it for yourself, this game kept me occupied when needed for a long time, I could play it again and again, even just the first 8 levels of the demo before I got the full game. Although I have gone on to other things, it’s hard to describe what kind of game it was the best of, I guess it was the best when-not-at-home, non-browser game that I’ll never forget.


Ahh simplicity at it's best

How do you like them apples? very much sir thank you

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