Become the eponymous Cedric, recover the sceptre and win the hand of a princess with a sillier name than your own in this platform/adventure re-release.
Along time ago in the days when dinosaurs roamed the earth and used Sinclair Spectrums, a small software house called Gargoyle Games released a masterpiece by the name of Tir Na Nog. It was one of those games that don't really look all that unlike other games but defies simple classification. You steered a noseless, wavy-haired Celtic hero around the Celtic otherworld in a side-on scrolly punching things sort of way. The difference was that rather than this being a side-on scrolly punching things sort of game, it was really an adventure. Cedric is a major case of Deja vu.
It's side on, it's scrolly, it's got a mythic hero with hair that bounces as he walks and you wouldn't tell from the screenshots, but it's an adventure game. But Neo haven't done away with the arts of meticulous joystick control -Cedric manages to be an out-and-out platformer too. Think Valhalla with the Zool engine.
The game starts with the now-traditional appalling plot-line, accompanied by faces of characters with rather scary eyes. I don't know what the original German is like, but the translation of the text to English was clearly not done by an English speaker. Whether the resulting comedy English detracts from the game or not is questionable - it may be that the plot is so bad it just adds to the fun. Suffice to say that, just like every other fantasy game, you've got to rescue something from a bad guy.
Cedric jogs through 11 different zones with nicely varied backdrops, leaping over obstacles, killing monsters by punching them (or jumping on their heads), climbing ladders, picking up coins and sidling up to ledges in the usual fashion. Now and then he passes something he can interact with (indicated by whirring cogs above his head) and you can hit the space bar to talk, use, examine or take. Progress through the levels is achieved in equal part by being able to bounce from platform to platform with great co-ordination and utilising various objects together to make things work, doors open and so on.
In general, a lot of thought has been put into design, keeping the game nicely varied. While some levels involve lots of vertical "How do I get up there?" platform action, another has you jumping from log to log on a river, trying to avoid sinking. There's a little too much reliance on the platformer style "step in the dark" style of gameplay, where you have to learn sequences to avoid a fatality and don't necessarily get indication of what to do without dying a few times. While appropriate to a pure platformer, without more save-game points, this can get a little frustrating in an adventure.
Cedric has the high-grade but rough around the edges presentation common to Amiga games at the tail end of the platform's commercial success. Graphics are very nice but stylistically rather outdated, and the running Cedric does look rather like a 70's footballer.
While Cedric is not one of the Amiga's great games, it is well designed, atmospheric, fun and challenging, so deserves to be saved from the obscurity of its minimalist original launch. If you like your adventures demanding more of your reactions or your platformers demanding more of your brain, you're sure to be happy at this price.
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