First impressions count, and in my gaming world this has never been more true than the first time I loaded up Captain Planet on the Amiga..." > First impressions count, and in my gaming world this has never been more true than the first time I loaded up Captain Planet on the Amiga..." />

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Captain Planet and the Planeteers

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Released: 1991

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: Amiga 500

Publisher: Mindscape

Developer: Graphics: Jason Kingsley, Music: Tony Crowther

Submitted by: Stuart Hunt

First impressions count, and in my gaming world this has never been more true than the first time I loaded up Captain Planet on the Amiga. It Christmas Day 1991, and after months of breathless waiting I had finally received my new machine. Waiting on my desk, sealed and waiting to be played were Lemmings and Bart Versus the Space Mutants, but Captain Planet was the one I wanted, and was to be my first footstep into the 16 bit world.

 

It was Tony Crowther’s music on the title screen that got me first. A generational leap from the bleeps I was used to from my CPC, it was upbeat, jaunty and full of energy, and sold the game to me there and then.

 

Unfortunately, it made a promise the game itself couldn’t keep. A combination of floaty controls, bad level design, instant deaths and terrible graphics removed much of the joy from the game.

 

The levels and challenges were often nonsensical – one level asked you to rescue polar bears from the clouds by nudging them with your ship, while repairing damage to the ozone layer (which the bears were also walking on, of course). I was hardly expecting social realism, but a consistent world would have helped sell a game that was already pushing its luck.

 

There were a variety of ideas across the levels, each designed to increase your interest, all of which were poorly implemented. The ice platforms you could create to climb through the second level were a clear lift from Rainbow Islands, but the controls weren’t tight enough to make work. The addition of vehicles may have been fun on paper, but when they’re even harder to control than the pixel perfect platforming, you know you’re in trouble.

 

Yet despite all of this, I still go back to that game almost 20 years later. The music still gives me the same thrill it did all those years ago, still inspires a sense of adventure that never made it to the game itself.

 

It seems that those first impressions really did matter.