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Lomax - Last Game of its Kind?

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Lomax is a platform game released for the Sony PlayStation in 1996 (it was released in North America under the name "The Adventures of Lomax", though the title screen still bears the same title that was used for the rest of the world). It is the spiritual sequel to The Misadventures of Flink (Mega CD, Mega Drive, and Amiga CD32), and is part of the four-game lineage of platform games worked on by artist Henk Nieborg and programmer Erwin Kloibhofer, which also includes Ghost Battle (Amiga, Atari ST), and Lionheart (Amiga).

It's one of my all-time favourite games, and I even made a plush of Lomax himself.


Here's a screenshot from one of the game's Western-themed levels.


This is a video showing a bit of the game in action.


And this video features impressions of both Lomax, and The Misadventures of Flink.

By the time Lomax was released, proper platformers had begun to dwindle in numbers, as the market began to favour other genres. European-made platformers in the vein of those that many of us grew up with on the home computers that were dominant here in the 1980s and 1990s had dwindled even more than other representatives of the genre, which made Lomax a pretty special game. Being a direct descendant of games of that sort, it bears all of their hallmarks - it's fun and easy to pick up, has a great atmosphere (helped along by great visuals and music), it becomes downright brutal later on, and it has a bit of an understated ending, with the game simply winding down towards the end, and not having a super-fancy ending sequence after the final boss. As with The Misadventures of Flink before it, Lomax very much feels like the sort of game that wouldn't have been out of place on the Commodore Amiga.

The game was proud to be what it was, at a time when people were being told that challenging, action-packed, traditionally-made games featuring beautiful, hand-drawn pixel art, were automatically inferior to easy, sparse, plodding games that had the appearance of being made from badly-painted, taped-together cereal boxes. Not everyone was convinced, but sadly not enough to ensure that Lomax's follow-up got off of the drawing board, making Lomax the last of its lineage.

The interesting thing is, I haven't yet found any evidence of other platformers in the European home computer tradition post-Lomax. Right now, I have to conclude that Lomax was actually the last game of its kind! It's a real shame that we never got to see how its follow-up would have turned out...

Updated 25th August 2014 at 20:05 by NinjaRabbit

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Comments

  1. DojoDan's Avatar
    You know I've heard of Lomax, but never seen actual gameplay footage. It looks fantastic. I'm a huge platformer fan and that looks right up my street. Flink is good as well, but haven't secured that on the Megadrive yet, bit too pricey. I didn't know about the "Henk Nieborg / Erwin Kloibhofer" connection at all. I've never heard of those Amiga games I'm ashamed to admit, but I'll definitely have to check them out. Thanks for sharing!
  2. NinjaRabbit's Avatar
    No problem.

    For what it's worth, and for want of avoiding price-driving comments, high prices for The Misadventures of Flink seem to affect the PAL version worse than the North American NTSC one. If you're not bothered too much about region, I would look for the US release instead. (Of course, a loose copy is likely to be a better deal, and that's what I went for, since I tend towards loose games anyway.)

    As for the earlier titles in the lineage, they're both good fun. I was finally able to track down Lionheart recently, and I'm now seeking Ghost Battle to complete the set.

    It's interesting to see the evolution, particularly of art and game-design, that took place across these four games if you examine them in chronological order. It's pretty neat.
  3. DojoDan's Avatar
    Yeah price is always a stumbling block, and even Ghost Battle seems a large stumbling block. But still, very interesting mate. I'll keep my eye open for Ghost Battle for you.
  4. NinjaRabbit's Avatar
    Oh wow, thanks very much - that's very kind of you.