Sweet she is and sweets she wants. Young Lolly wakes up and has an incredibly appetite for candy. For chocolate, and for caramel and gingerbread, and for cookies and crisps and marshmallows and lemonade and bubblegum and jelly bears and ice and cream and sugar frosted chocolate bombs. All right, we've all had such moments. But Lolly is a doll. Animated by a stroke of lightning, she suddenly has life, a sweet tooth and a quest: Onward to the land where candy grows and the refrigerators never run out!
It's a hostile world for small, innocent and rather hungry little dolls - that's why you've got to help Lolly find her way through eight big levels in this jump'n'run game. After the escape from the toy factory, the way to the promised land leads through places like a ghost town, a snow world and even Lolly's own cottony dreams. The way is far from safe: plenty of traps and monsters threaten a doll's life, but good timing, athletic leaps and an ample supply of lollipops to fling at obtrusive enemies help mastering any challenge. In desperate situations, Lolly can take a snapshot with her pocket camera, which instantly destroys all opponents on the screen. Huge level bosses guard the exit of each world; defeating the mega-monsters requires specific tactics. Fortunately, there is support: chests contain key items (to unlock different parts of each level), power-ups and plenty of sweets, of course. On the downside, the boxes may also yield harmful objects that jumble up Lolly's controls or even hurt her. Tender dolls of that model can sustain three hits before they break apart. There's a time limit for each level, so sucking popsicles in a corner won't do. You cannot save the game, but you get a personal passcode after each level.
Between 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 and also Rainbow Arts, who stood behind the famous Turrican trilogy, Lollypop features 256 colour VGA graphics, smoothscrolling and major sound card support on PC. Amiga version, released one year later (1995), has only OCS/ECS colour palette and different music.
On the first look the game idea may seem a bit childish and on the second even more. Older player may look a bit strange (or like something else) with Lollypop on his/her notebook screen during travelling in public transport. On the other hand, this pays for almost all jumping games and computer games in general. In this case, Lollypop is classic example of genre with a bit slower pace. What makes it special is authors' care and attention to all details. There are 8 big levels and many sublevels in the game and all of them contain different environment as well as own enemies and different playstyle. In some of them scrolling is limited to opposite directions (left - right, up - down), while the others demand crossing even many floor high altitude. Entering subsections can be realised by jumping into them or pressing the keyboard key on the right place. The goal of any level is to collect all 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 picture can be dropped by "slaughtered" enemies or they are hidden in chests spread through the level (some are hidden and need to be called by certain action like jumping on or off something). Except necessary mosaic pieces and keys, the hero girlie can pick up sweets for points and positive or negative bonuses bringing or taking away health, adding special ability or causing time-limited disease.
As I said, the style of playing depends on each level but generally it's one of those games where progress must be mastered and needs some trying and dying. But then levels can be replayed quite fast. Some areas or bonuses look inaccesible at first and must be discovered by accident. Sometimes it's not necessary to enter all areas but going through them will help you gaining some additional bonuses. This game is sadly one of those where loosing life means also loosing power (here amount of thrown lollypops) which makes further advancing more difficult, sometimes fatally. Lollypop is not ultra hard game but strenght of candy arsenal is crucial for ease of playing. This pays off especially for final bosses, who are usually not as hard 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. Except different enemies in each of them (and there are plenty of types and big variations in their actions), sometimes even the main character looks different on the basis of level environment. In one of the levels ("Her Dreams") girlie has nightdress and looks like she woke up not long time ago, in other she wears Santa Clause outfit. And yes, it's really infantile, together with level environments. First few areas are OK, nice drawn and attractive for child players, but later levels are so sweet that some people could call it bad taste. However, what may one expect from a game with such title? In this case, it's a kind of aesthetical style corresponding with the game theme.
For accessing advanced levels without replaying previous ones, there is system of generated codes which contains not only the level itself but also main heroine's state of health and firepower. It's impossible to save position inside of stage and in this genre I see no reason why it should be. With more than 3 lives chosen in the main menu it's impossible to continue past level 3.
The thing I must point at is music. Sound samples are good, usually short, but music is great and there is one tune for every (!) level and even sublevel. Together it's unusual amount of music score for a single game and all melodies fit their environment perfectly.
I hadn't played this game at the time it was released (I only heard about it) but recently when I tried Lollypop I must say it's one of the best 2D platform games on PC/Amiga and maybe on any computer game system. Sadly it can't be said that this is a classic piece everyone knows. There were never any big hype around it (but reviews were positive). Maybe it's because of so childish theme and look, not enough advertising or already falling fame of Factor 5. Maybe it was published too late on Amiga, whose community is usually able to create a cult around some titles but then it was already too weak, and PC players never took jumping games as seriously. But it's definitely worth a try even if you don't like candies.
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