||Machine Type: Spectrum 48K
|Submitted on: 6th of October, 2020
||Download or play online
Azimov sends us his new entry, Among Bad, a parody of the viral multiplayer game Among Us, a murder mystery set in the depths of space. I’m not very fond of the original, to be honest, as the only way to win if you aren’t the impostor is to just play little rubbish mini-games and hope you don’t get backed into a corner with a Jack The Ripper wannabe. The process of identifying the saboteur breaks down to disyllabic accusations if you’re in a public lobby; if you’re unlucky enough to have that evergreen phrase “red sus” hurled at you, then your body is shipped out the airlock. Of course, the ZX Spectrum doesn’t really have the facilities to support online multiplayer (at least not without a hardware add-on) so Azimov has worked to replace one type of crap with another.
Once the game has loaded, with a nicely done rendition of the original game’s artwork, the introduction appears. Immediate bonus points for the inconsistent use of capital letters, and an immediate penalty for correct word-wrapping, bringing the current score back to zero. Nice.
After this, the game itself begins. You emerge in the cafeteria, the central zone which links all other sections of the map. You are given an area to go to, but since all of the rooms are unlabelled, you will need to wander about until you eventually figure out the map. There are some anomalies, most notably the east wing being labelled the west wing.
The room layouts are reminiscent of Adventure on the Atari 2600, what with the large, unadorned blobs of colour. The spacesuit graphics are at least fairly spot on, but the animations don’t have the same fluidity of the original. If you move diagonally, your legs lock in place, as they tend to in real-life. Cleverly, the title is rendered in a different typeface, complete with the letter A being substituted by a little spaceman. Not so cleverly, this change has been made to the main font, so reading the text off is a bit of a nightmare; it can flip between bold Sinclair and custom outline several times in a single word. These graphical deficiencies are at least tolerable, unlike the jack-hammer that sounds throughout the entire game, from spawn to death.
The enemy AI is just programmed to move side-to-side, so it’s fairly accurate to the intelligence of the average mobile-game player. Only in the “west wing” does avoiding these impostors become a challenge, thanks to the overlapping paths of the two baddies.
So you keep doing your tasks, moving through the map, losing your eardrums and dodging the fakers until you eventually get caught out. Your body gets torn and your torso is thrown to the floor, with a huge, comical bone sticking out of the centre of your body. Work and die, just like real-life.
Overall, Among Bad is certainly among the bad games of this year, and that’s just from the association with the original. Sparse graphics and deafening sound combine to make this a Crap Classic.