Head over Heels
Cute creatures and perfidious puzzles
Antique Code Show Inspired no doubt by two years pondering the literal semantics of Tears For Fears' 1985 hit, Jon Ritman and Bernie Drummond's Head Over Heels was an absolute masterful exploration game for the 8-bit era.
Drawn in the same isometric vein as Knight's Lore and Ritman and Drummond's own Batman - no, not Arkham City, although I'd buy that for a dollar - HoH had a unique central concept in that you play as two separated halves of a symbiotic organism, one called Head, the other Heels. Using a handy hotkey, you can switch control between the two at any point in the game.
Ah, cute as...
Eventually the two meet, and when Head sits atop Heels, their powers combine. Head can perform a much higher, controlled jump. He can fire doughnut projectiles from a foghorn with a satisfying splat, the quaint, non-violent explanation being that enemies would freeze in their tracks to lick off the sugary treats.
Heels can run fast - handy for escaping HoH bizarre array of automaton enemies, including Prince Charles' head on a Dalek body - and carry items around in his gladstone bag.
Put them together and, as Hannah Montana once asserted, you get the best of both worlds.
Springtime, I'm getting high
There are times where the level design would hinder the progress of either character. Being twice as tall when fused together meant that narrow routes could not be traversed, and certain hush-puppy-shaped platforms would vanish if seen by Head, so periodically you would go your separate ways and reconvene later.
It was a novel and watertight design choice, and one which I've never since seen updated for the 2000s. The only thing that even comes remotely close is SouthEnd Interactive's Ilomilo, which is a sort of mix of Head Over Heels and unsung PlayStation classic, Kula World.
This wall is really coming between us
My single bugbear was that some of the collision detection was a little suspect. It was sometimes all too easy to simply walk into a hazardous element of the scenery and lose a handful of lives in less time than it takes to lick a doughnut off your face.
Next page: Electric isometric
One would almost imagine this story was a plant, only a very short time till HoH is released on the iPad (and the iPhone a little while after that)
Glad you enjoyed the game and a sorry to those who found it too hard, good to have it remembered after such a long time though
Seeing as the 'Buy from Amazon' link at the bottom of this article helpfully suggests the riveting books 'All About Joints: A Maintenance Guide' and 'The Science of Beauty Therapy', may I suggest this rather more helpful link to the free download of the remake, available for Windows, OSX, BeOS and Linux:
Finally a use for my G4 Mini
Re: People keep reminding me of old isometric 3D games lately
Is there any love here for 'Spin Dizzy'? I'd love to see that on a phone or slablet.
Ahem - "Knight's Lore"?
Does one perhaps mean "Knight Lore"? And the intro waffle is rendered a tad worse than it is by knowing that the working title of this game, until very late in the process, was actually "Foot and Mouth".
A truly excellent game though.
The remake has a slight imperfection, in that its rooms are all slightly larger such that it allows you to get stuck around the side of a doorway or fall off the outside of platforms that should be against the wall. Other than that it's a lovely rendition.