SOME OF THE BEST music I've ever heard on the 128 characterises Ocean's remake of The NeverEnding Story, which was originally launched just before Christmas as a three-part adventure game.
The storyline follows that of the film, rather than Michael Ende's original tale. You play Atreyu, a young boy who must find the saviour of his land, Fantasia, threatened by the Nothing which consumes it. Various quaintly-named characters are there to help or hinder - Falkor the luckdragon, Morla the ancient tortoise, or the gnomes Engywook and Urgll. Gmork, the evil werewolf, will be hot on your tracks the whole time, so you have to move quickly.
There's not really much I can say about NeverEnding Story as far as the game goes which hasn't already been said by our own Richard Price, who reviewed the original Spectrum version in the January issue. The 128 version is simply the three parts of that strung together in one almighty saga which, if you don't mind the fairy-tale elements, is thoroughly enjoyable and quite demanding.
The main addition is the music, and that consists of an excellent and lengthy version of the theme tune from the film. Ocean has executed it well, using a fade-out at the end, and you can have it running continuously as you play if you like, and just turn down the volume on the TV if it gets too irritating.
The graphics are just the same, and very good too. A split screen format has attractive pictures at the top, with pictures of the objects you are carrying or people with you superimposed. I was a little irritated by the way the program treats people and animals as objects to be 'got', but it does make the vocabulary simpler when you get the hang of it.
The 128 is an ideal machine for really big adventures with lots of illustrations, and it shouldn't take those software houses with good adventure writing systems - one thinks of Level 9 - long to adapt to the new machine, with good original quests that take up all the available space.
NeverEnding Story must come close to filling up the memory, and is a good choice for inclusion as one of the games given away with the machine.