Classic Game Review: Phantom Club 1988

Dusko Dimitrijevic is a name to be reckoned with, if only because it is difficult to pronounce. This young programmer comes from Yugoslavia, and the first major game he wrote, M.O.V.I.E, was a huge hit. That was in March 1986 and we have had to wait awhile for the second, which is a follow up in style but not in theme.

Many years ago a group of superheroes possessed with strange and deadly powers banded together and formed the Phantom Club. The overlord Zarg, developed an evil streak, and over the years managed to persuade the other members to practise his nasty ways all except for Plutus. The club split up and now disapproving Plutus finds himself facing an evil band of warriors, all as powerful as him. Playing Plutus, it is up to you to defeat the band and destroy Zarg.

You start the game as Zelator. lowest rank of the brotherhood, and aim to rise through the ranks (ten in all) to get that of levelling powers; only then will you be able to defeat Zarg and restore the club’s good name. To do this, you must explore the club’s many rooms, overcome devious traps and puzzles, and complete the various missions that have been set while coping with your former colleagues whom Zarg sends after you.

The Phantom Club is instantly recognisable as being from the hands of M.O.V.I.E.’s creator, the design of the isometric perspective rooms inevitably recalling the earlier game but despite the similarities. Phantom Club is an enjoyable experience because the problems facing the player are new. Pay no attention to your special power of Brainstorm’ – a bolt of psychic force you shoot from your head – it is just a laser gun in different guise, and has much the same effect on baddies when it hits them, although some need more than one shot; but the use of movie screens (a back note) in when blasted, earn bonus scores.

The game provides one mission per ranking, accessed by shooting at a movie screen, if you have not reached the ranking and several points necessary to undertake a mission you are informed – it requires at least 40.000 points to start the first mission for instance, and the aim of the mission, that is for you to find out.

Some rooms, which give essential information on your mission, is a genuinely fine element, and the frantic search to find the one necessary to enable completion of the mission for your next ranking gives the game that ‘just one more go’ feeling.

That, and the combination of more usual arcade-adventure elements: extra lives can be obtained by touching floating spheres, others provide extra speed, and spinning spheres.

This game provides a lot of interest and creative game plays to us but it does not have that great game value. I would recommend this game any game lover but don’t get your hopes up, what you see is not what you always get.

My rating for this game is 3.5 out of 5. Stay on for more classic game reviews.


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