Review: The Great Giana Worlds
Written by Adok
Code : Myth, TMB Inc.
Graphics : Arthus, Kyp, Shine
Music : Virgill, Dalezy, Instant Remedy, Pink
Levels : Kojote
Web-site : http://giana.home.pages.de/
Who of the former c64 gamers among us has not loved The Great Giana Sisters? This Mario Bros. clone cast its spell on almost every kid that had a c64 in the middle of the eigthies. SID music by Chris Hlsbeck, 32 well designed levels and quite a few hidden items and warp zones were the main qualities of the best known jump'n'run game on c64.
Giana Sisters was also available on Amiga with an even better quality of the music and graphics. Yet most people remember Giana Sisters from c64. With the nostalgic movement that started in 1996, also Giana Sisters experienced a comeback. With time, various remakes of it appeared on PC. One of them is Giana 32k by Myth which was presented at Mekka & Symposium 1998 and was ranked 1st by the party audience. After several updates of Giana 32k with more levels and new features, this same Myth is now back with a completely rewritten remake of Giana Sisters: The Great Giana Worlds.
The Great Giana World is based on DirectX. Actually the game is not finished yet, it's still in beta state. However, the current version (0.7 beta) already features nine fully playable levels. It is the first officially released version, presented at Evoke '99 and available at http://giana.home.pages.de.
After waiting until the game has loaded, you get to the traditional Giana intro. It looks very much like in the original game, but there are some additional details: for example, the background is not simply blue, but there is a mountain landscape overcast by beautiful clouds. The foreground and the background layers scroll by at different speeds - classic parallax scrolling, just like you know it from the 16-bit video game area. At the same time music by Instant Remedy composed exclusively for this Giana remake is playing. The beginning sounds just like Hlsbeck's original Giana theme, but then it starts taking off with a new melody which really encourages you to start your adventure.
In general, the capabilities of the PC have been well used, and both the graphics and the music look superior to the original. It was an excellent idea to implement background animations and transparency effects. But most important for the good atmosphere is the background music by Virgill/Haujobb. It is three XMs which, although not originally written for the game, fit the three different sceneries (grass world, cave, and ice world) perfectly.
Being one of the testers of earlier betas, I happily noticed that most of the bugs I reported on had been fixed. Although Myth writes on his homepage that a P233 is the absolute minimum, I can say it works fine on my P200, too. No flickering, slow scrolling or whatsoever. Only in the intro and at the beginning of the first level did I have to wait a little until the music had been loaded, while my sound blaster was repeating the same sound several times. I guess this is a problem with the sound engine. According to Myth it has already been fixed and won't appear in the next beta version. Also included in the next beta version will be hard SID support. Then the original tunes from c64 can be used optionally.
A feature of the original Giana Sisters the remake still lacks is some extra items. While there were no extra items in Giana 32k at all, at least you can now destroy blocks and throw fireballs after finding the appropriate gimmicks. But the clock, for example, is still missing. Also, there are only nine instead of thirty-two levels. An experienced gamer is able to play through Giana Worlds at once. However, the levels that are available are original, long, and apart from a few minor defects well designed.
As Giana Worlds is freeware and only 3 mbyte, it's definitely worth checking out - if not for the game then at least for the music.