The witch Circe imprisoned twelve virgins for a ritual sacrifice. Ulysses, the Greek hero, recently washed away on the beach after a storm destroyed his ship and its crew, is summoned by the populace to rescue the kidnapped women. In exchange, they promise to help him return to Itaca, his home. To aid in his quest, he receives from a wise elder a magical hammer.
Ulises is a side-scrolling platform game from Spain. Although Spanish, the game has almost no text, only four words: "Opera Soft", the name of the company; "Ulises", the spanish name of the character, and the word "Fin" at the end (spanish for "The End"). The Ulysses character moves from left to right throwing hammers to kill an incessant wave of enemies. The game doesn't have levels, but sections within one expansive level. Precise jumps are required to clear abysses and gorges, and to avoid collision with dangerous objects. The SPACE bar makes the character throw the hammer forward. O and P move Ulysses left or right, respectively. Q is the jump/move up button, and A is the crouch/move down button. The game starts with three lives, and each rescued damsel adds an extra one. There isn't any form of saving progress.
This is a not-so-bad game from Opera Soft that uses some parts of Greek mythology for the game plot. You take the role of Odysseus who, shipwrecked on unknown island, must rescue twelve girls that are imprisoned by the evil witch Circe. After doing so, islanders will help him return to Ithaca. Although this is a Spanish game (Ulises is Spanish for Ulysses, the Latin name of Odysseus), there is no text that may cause problems for those who doesn't understand Spanish. Ulises is a simple action-platform that requires only fast reflexes.
The main character is very interestingly portrayed. His torso is twice as big as his legs, he has long and strong hands, and his clothes and bearded face do have a kind of mythological look. You will face various mythical creatures on your quest and will deal with them by throwing hammers. You have three lives and every time you rescue a damsel, the number of lives will be restored to three. Girls are simply standing on predefined places and you simply have to touch them. Ulysses is always in the center of the screen width. There is no vertical scroll and the scrolling itself is not bad. There are no standard levels, but the game can be divided into several parts, with Ulysses climbing and leaving the current part this way. There are also no points, so you play for virtue and, hopefully, a safe way to Ithaca.
The game has solid EGA graphics and a nice main tune, although played on PC speakers. Here and there you will see some interesting stuff, like thunder and rain, the fire burning beneath you, the way monsters are destroyed, etc. In the first section, Ulysses can fall into the sea but he doesn't drown right away; instead, water carries him for a short while and he can grab a rope during this. All this may not be much but adds a few more points to the gameplay. The bad side may be the constant appearance of creatures. Although this may be seen as a good thing by the trigger-maniacs, it may become too demanding. Most of the time new creatures of a certain type will appear as soon as the previous creature of the same kind is off the screen, whether alive or dead. This means that as soon as you kill a monster and its body is gone, a new one appears. You will be constantly shooting while trying to keep the pace. Sometimes, a monster's appearance is sudden. It is necessary to always keep the concentration at a high level which can really be energy consuming. Luckily, your hammer is a mighty one and can kill multiple enemies. Be aware that the hero can't be controlled while jumping, so some precision is required.
The controls may be tricky and take some time to adapt to. For example, while you are holding to a horizontal rope, press only LEFT or RIGHT to jump. This means that you have to let go of the UP button which can be a problem when you are hastening to climb up and jump away. If this sounds like exaggerating the problem, try the game and you will understand. Depending on the situation, you may even decide to spare a monster since a new one won't appear right away. After the title screen, keep listening to the music and don't start the game. After some time, a demo game will start. It will always be the same demo, but it will show you a big part of the game. Perhaps you want to discover things yourself, but watching the demo won't exactly reveal how to beat the game. Even after you see the dangers that lie ahead, you will still have to practice a lot to actually overcome them. Know that once demo starts, it can't be interrupted.
Ulises is a hard game; you'll need good reflexes and knowledge of all the dangers that you'll face. You will also need to play a lot until you get to know how to deal with everything. It's a good thing that you can start a new game almost immediately after losing all your lives, without having to wait for some intro or titles. Perhaps some of you won't find the difficulty rejecting, though some surely will. Either way, Ulises is an interesting game that may be fun for a while and is surely worth a try.
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