Elfland Reloaded Vol.1 is the first of a two part platform game series that was originally released way back in 1990 on MS-DOS. The game has been ported by the original developers to the 360 and received a makeover with new graphics for the HD generation.
[singlepic id=338 w=320 h=240 float=center]
You play the part of an Elf, Elfie or Elfita, who must defend their village from the trolls that are planning an attack. You start in the village which has a population of NPC characters which can be talked to to gain helpful hints and tips on what to do next. Once you have spoken to the village elder you learn of your mission and are sent on your way to find Gorgimer’s Castle where you will will learn of your next task.
Along your journey you visit two main locations, the journey to the castle and the castle itself. The outdoor locations are more open spaced where your character will be faced with trees to climb, clouds to jump on, lakes to navigate and a variety of enemies such as birds and snakes. While inside the castle, more traditional platform based challenges await, with switches to open new sections, moving platforms to jump and enemies such as springs and purple elf-eaters. The level designs are fairly good and in the later stages provide a good challenge with some basic puzzle solving, even including a boss towards the end of the game.
[singlepic id=336 w=320 h=240 float=center]
To help you on your journey you have access to a number of weapons which are interchangeable by tapping a button. Weapons include fruit which stun enemies and bombs which will blow them up. You have a limited number of each weapon, but these can be replenished by collecting them throughout the game. The variety of weapons at your disposal are decent and each have their own uses against certain types of enemies.
The difficulty level is about right for a platform game, your character has a one life health gauge which can be replenished and extended as you progress through the game. Checkpoints are not in the game ,but there is one better with a very handy save and load state feature which can be performed at any time from the pause screen. This does make the game a little easier as you can easily reload if you make a mistake but it is very useful in the tricky parts of the game. If you do get totally stuck there is a cheat mode which lets you skip levels and have invincibility.
[singlepic id=335 w=320 h=240 float=center]
As mentioned, the graphics have been updated for the 360 version. The original game had fairly good for its time graphics, the 360 version has a much higher resolution but graphics but are still fairly basic. Just above I have posted a comparison image of the original and the 360 version, you could argue that the original graphics look a bit more defined in a round about way but I will leave the decision open as to which works and looks better.
The issue of the graphics flickering when scrolling is something I wanted to address, when I wrote the trial impression for this game I suffered from a headache after playing for several minutes. I spoke to the developer regarding this and the problem is due to the original game running at 20 FPS while it is displayed on the 360 at a higher framerate. This is something he is well aware of and was happy for me to discuss this in the review, unfortunately due to the way the original game was coded it would take a lot of effort to fix this. I can say however, that the problems are more noticeable in the opening stages of the game, in particular the village and some of the outside section, once you enter the castle it is hardly noticeable and not a problem.
[singlepic id=337 w=320 h=240 float=center]
The game will take an hour or two to complete depending on your skill level which I found a little short. The reason behind this is that originally this was an introductory episode that was freeware, with the second part being a paid for game. The first episode costs 240 :MSPoints: on the 360 and I think that for this price the second part should have been included, compared to other games in the 240 :MSPoints: range there is not a massive amount of game and has little replay value.
It is a little hard to recommend the game because of its fairly short lifespan and the possibility it will give you an headache in the starting levels. Elfland Reloaded Vol.1 despite some issues, is a fairly good platform game but you should try the trial and see if the graphics jerking problems affect you as they did for me before buying as this can spoil your experience.
More information on Elfland Reloaded Vol. 1 as well as the trial and full versions of the game can be found on the Marketplace.0