If the Great Gianna Sisters was too tough for you, then you might as well stop reading now. Yolanda is the toughest and fastest platform game on the Amiga ever. Period. If you don't like driving yourself to achieve perfection, or if your reflexes are tested by checkers, this game is not for you. Nor if your idea of speed is taking the dog for a walk. But if you are an arcade wizard, with a penchant for puzzles, then, seriously, this is the ultimate challenge.
At first glance, Yolanda didn't appeal to me. Drab screens, old-style platforms, adventure-style story, and you seem to die constantly. It just seems too hard. But with a bit of patience, you'll start to get somewhere, and it strikes you that this is one humdinger of a game.
The idea is that the comely Yolanda has to recreate the 12 labours of Hercules. Each labour involves three, four or five screens, and you have to get to the door of each screen. Starting off, she has three seconds to jump somewhere safe or she's dead. There are ropes to jump to and climb, and ledges separated by frighteningly large gaps. Some ledges burst into flames if you touch them. And there are nasties to avoid. But the worst thing is often you can't get to your goal without finding the hidden ledges. And you can only find them by trial and error, which involves a lot of dying.
There is a "trainer" mode to give you an idea of what the actual labours will be like. The trainer is supposed to be for beginners, but after the first two screens, it's just as hard as the real game! And you have fewer lives! I still haven't got through it, yet I've managed to get through a couple of the labours. They must make them tough at Vectordean, the creators, if this is supposed to be easy. You can play in wimp mode (which I call sensible mode), which gives you seven lives. Or hero mode (i.e, crazy), which has four lives, and you start on a different labour every time you die, so by the time you've registered which labour you are on, you're dead. And there is legend mode; 1 life (aka insanity mode).
A problem with Yolanda is that not only is it tough, but it almost overdoes the essential frustration bit. Yolanda often requires almost unreasonable precision from a fast joystick platform game. Sometimes, for example, you have to jump off the exact pixel at the end of a ledge to get to your target. That's what I call tough.
Like Rick Dangerous, you'll find yourself dying in a different way each time you play. What is more irritating is that you often die the same way every time, and there doesn't seem much you can do. You have to keep persevering, though, and eventually it gets easier, and you start to finish screens. That's when the game becomes really addictive, and you can't help trying one more time. This is helped by the fact that there is very little time between lives, labours or games. This is not forced on you though; you press the button when you're ready. It's a pity more games aren't like this. The speed is rather overwhelming at first, but it soon hooks you, and I found myself getting intolerant of the one second gap between finishing and starting again!
So Yolanda is definitely recommended, not to the average Joe Normal, but to you, skilled and patient Zen joystick geniuses out there.
Yolanda looks similar to Giana, but the game doesn't. Though it's a platform game, but in an absolutely different style. By the way, the level of the game is very hard! You will die within seconds, until you figure it out where to move.
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