...is a game, one of the launch titles for the Sony Playstation 2
console. It's a game like no other I've seen!
The setting, to start with at least, is a cityscape at night with
illuminated skyscrapers, bridges, towers and other landmarks. As each
level progresses you move slowly through the three dimensional city,
seeing more views as you go. The soundtrack is lightly beat driven
fluffy dance music.
We are putting on a firework display for the city. Fireworks are
launched from the bottom of the screen and we control a cursor and a
"select" button that we can use to highlight fireworks while they are
in flight. We have a "detonate" button that will cause our selected
fireworks to explode. Different fireworks explode in different
beautiful patterns and as the sparks fall, if they touch another
firework of the same colour they will cause it to explode too. We can
create a wonderful show for the people of this city!
The basic idea is to select a group of fireworks of the same colour and
detonate them all together. The more fireworks in the group, the more
points you score. Secondary explosions caused by touching are added to
your group. There are three colours (red, green and blue) and you can
normally only have one colour in your group at a time. But, there are
also special multicoloured fireworks that can join any group. They can
also let you switch colour in the middle of a group, allowing you to
build large multicoloured groups for more points!
But you have to be quick! If you leave a firework too long before
detonating it counts as a miss and you lose "health". When your health
reaches zero the game is over. You can increase health by exploding big
groups and by collecting special bonus fireworks as they appear. Star
shaped fireworks contribute to the word "starmine" and when it is
complete a bright fiery comet is launched. If you capture and detonate
this you are taken to starmine mode, a kind of bonus level with all
the fireworks you can eat! You can build massive, self-sustaining groups
to boost your score.
All the way through a calm, feminine voice describes your explosions
and encourages you when you do well. She is like the computer from
Babylon 5, reassuringly omnipresent and always supportive. As you
complete a level you can save your display for later. Sometimes you get
a small video clip of happy children playing with their toys, a glimpse
into an ideal family. The music changes with each level, as do the
settings. We don't stay in the city for long. I won't give more away now
(because I haven't got much further myself!)
Saved displays can be used in replay mode, where you become one of the
spectators. As your display unfolds you can control camera angles and
movements, weather conditions and viewpoints. You can also overlay
special effects, creating psychedelic patterns, blurry blobfests and
rushing tunnels. This is a whole new dimension to the game!
For some Fantavision is a game of quick strategy and efficient
planning. For others it is a game of reactions and frantic button
pushing. For a few it is a spectacle, a piece of interactive art to
enjoy and marvel at. For me it is all those things and I love it. It is a happy game! Above
all, it is different, and for that I cherish it!
Have you hugged your Fantavision today? Go on, put on a display!