|Not appearing... the players. Source // Lysator.liu.se|
Asteroids, Thrust, Lunar Lander... remember them? Of course you do. Games where the difference between gracefully flying through a canyon and splatting into the side of it is the well-controlled use of the thrust button.
These games are both fun and infuriating, as mastering them often requires plenty of practice and some knowledge of physics is an added bonus. But, what would happen if you were to split the screen down the middle and let friend battle friend?
Gravity Power would happen.
At least I'm told it would. Gravity Power was commissioned by Amiga Power magazine. Gravity Force 2, an unofficial sequel to the first title, was so damn good on the Amiga - second only to Sensible Soccer, according to Amiga Power - that there simply had to be an even better version of it, naturally branded with 'Power' and given away free with the magazine.
Sounds pretty damn good, huh? Slight bias perhaps, but it's made this 1001 list as well, so it's got to be pretty good. Seems so on paper at least.
While freely available, and with a 20th Anniversary edition to boot, Gravity Power suffers from the same problems as all games of this kind, in that if a player doesn't have the skill, they won't get as much from it as someone else.
In a multiplayer environment, that changes slightly. If trying to delicately manoeuvre a ship around perilous obstacles in tricky in single player, imagine someone else shooting missiles at your ship while you're doing it. Then ask them to return fire. It's hectic, and many great multiplayer games are exactly that - until one of you gets good and absolutely crushes their opposition, at which point you don't really fancy playing anymore.
I've played very little of this game - trust me on that, because it's fiddly enough to control before asking me to screenshot it as well - but I can imagine how it could have climbed the ranks back in the 1990s.
With movement, shooting and a special weapon, it's not like you're juggling too much while you're playing, but it's like you're juggling chainsaws instead of balls, such is the requirement to keep your ship away from threats, and aimed at your opponent, and taking into account gravity for your shots as well...
If you like these kinds of games then it won't matter what title is splashed across the main menu. If you don't like these kinds of games then you can safely ignore Gravity Power. If you're somewhere in that massive gap in the middle though, and especially if you have someone of equal enough skill in these games to yourself, then you might want to think about it.
I'm sure there are plenty of these games that do multiplayer by now, but this was, for a time, the multiplayer thrust-em-up to play. Today? Eh, sure, it's going to be entertaining for a little while. Can't complain that much - especially when it's free.
Multiple levels meant multiple level styles, including desert worlds, arctic worlds and... boring worlds. Really. The stages are referred to as 'Boring Worlds'.
Gravity Power, developed by Jens Andersson, Jan Kronqvist, first released in 1994.
Version played: Gravity Power 20, PC, 2015