davidn: (prince)
[personal profile] davidn
I got back into playing Elasto Mania again after seeing it mentioned on a "shareware games we grew up with" thread on Twitter! Seventeen years after it was first released, I finally registered it (which you can still do on the slightly spartan original site) and gave author Balázs Rózsa some money at last.

The usual

Did anyone else here have this? It was called Action Supercross earlier in its life, and is labelled a "motorbike simulation", which doesn't really describe it at all (though I will concede it does have a bike in it). It's sort of an... action-puzzle platformer?, starring a man with nerves made of steel on a bike with suspension made of elastic. The aim is to propel yourself around the levels, collect all the apples and then get to the flower for some reason. You have to watch your rider's head, because if that contacts the scenery at any point, you're dead - and the same goes for letting your wheels touch any of the nasty spinny obstacles that start appearing in later levels.

What will probably happen the first time you try it is you'll line yourself up with an apple, hold down Accelerate, immediately flip over and die. Because this is a physics game - and one written from the ground up before we had Box2D and Havok to mess it all up for us, making it an impressive piece of programming indeed. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, the author went on to establish a lab for 3D function network and dendritic imaging, whatever the hell those are.) Acceleration tips you backwards, so you have to go easy on the throttle and control your brake to keep yourself upright. You can also influence your rotation a bit by using the left and right arrow keys to throw yourself in that direction - and the last control is Space to "turn around", which somewhat bizarrely flips the chassis of the bike around so that the front wheel becomes the back and vice versa, without affecting the bike's acceleration or angle or anything.

It starts off simple enough, with flat surfaces and gentle slopes, with just your own overenthusiasm as the main obstacle. But things start becoming more involved very quickly, and you have to navigate the nightmare-skateboard-park levels by using all kinds of impossible tricks - only your head and wheels collide with the ground, so sometimes you'll have to cling on to a platform with your back wheel with the rest of your bike and rider dangling below it, desperately getting up the momentum to reach for an apple with your front tyre.


I was drawn back to the game by finding that there is, of course, a competitive community that has sprung up around it. Some of the recorded runs they've achieved are unbelievable, flinging themselves around levels at the speed of sound while I have to carefully teeter over mild hillocks to avoid crashing and burning. In fact, if I have a criticism of the game, it's that the later default levels tend towards ridiculously long and large, taking upwards of three minutes to complete with just one unrecoverable slip between you and the ground (and a subsequent restart). So now I'm working through the vast library of community-created ones!

Date: 2017-07-02 05:02 am (UTC)
chalcedony_starlings: Two scribbled waveforms, one off-black and one off-white, overlapping, on a flat darkish purpleish background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] chalcedony_starlings

So sentimental Not sentimental, no The forum is discussing it David went down the bike pit When there's a spinner, avoid it Oh, you gotta go somewhere else Too late, too late, too late, you'll be late, too late, too late So go slowly, encouraged Dismissing other interests All throughout the weekend Trying for this level's time record mastered But then it's just a disaster No, it's going to someone else These days, you play, you play, you play, you play, you play But no

Elasto Mania! Think less, just make it go Like a ride, like a ride, oh So easily upended Flip back and let it go From the Web to the Windows

Elasto Mania! The levels come and go Like a ride, like a ride, oh Not easily upended Dash right and left and flow From the Web to the Windows

Date: 2017-07-03 12:29 am (UTC)
chalcedony_starlings: Two scribbled waveforms, one off-black and one off-white, overlapping, on a flat darkish purpleish background. (Default)
From: [personal profile] chalcedony_starlings

Well, given the original phenomenon of Lisztomania was quite a while before that, I wouldn't be surprised if the game title were based on the same thing as the song title. Especially since the author's name looks Hungarian.

Date: 2017-07-02 02:29 pm (UTC)
xyzzysqrl: A moogle sqrlhead! (Default)
From: [personal profile] xyzzysqrl
... I have no idea how I can top THAT *point up* but uh. I played this for a while. It gave me comfortable memories seeing this post, but I have no desire to go back to it, particularly since the Trials games now exist and have most of this plus EXPLOSIONS.

Very fond memories though.

Date: 2017-07-02 07:21 pm (UTC)
kjorteo: Screenshot from Hatoful Boyfriend, of Miru & Kaku looking excited and triumphant in the seat of their tank. (Hatoful: Miru & Kaku)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
And a furry squirrel AI dating sim.

Date: 2017-07-02 07:14 pm (UTC)
kjorteo: Shocked Bulbasaur portrait from Pokémon Mystery Dungeon. (Bulbasaur: Shocked)
From: [personal profile] kjorteo
I'm kind of amazed a game from 2000 still has an active working registration link, but well done for the support. :) I wonder how many times this actually happens with the author at this point--maybe it's like my novel where they get maybe two or three sales a year.

Meanwhile, I have no idea what I'm looking at and my brain hurts. I do appreciate basing entire puzzle mechanics and solutions around... whatever this is, though! "THAT'S NOT HOW PHYSICS WORKS" was my first thought, but taking however it works in this game and designing levels around it is a nice touch. Unfortunately I don't think my brain can keep up with the way this game would want me to think, but it does look fun for anyone who can!

Date: 2017-07-15 02:22 am (UTC)
igorium: (Default)
From: [personal profile] igorium
We called that back arrow move "hump the invisible man"
I remember completing it all and also two community level packs that came with the version I had

Date: 2017-07-15 02:23 am (UTC)
igorium: (Default)
From: [personal profile] igorium
We took turns in attempts to complete a level, my brother an a friend. Ah, the good times.

Here's a great flash clone of it http://www.kongregate.com/games/LongAnimals/cyclomaniacs
Edited Date: 2017-07-15 02:29 am (UTC)

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