Gomola Speed is a very easy game to play, but an incredibly difficult one to explain to someone who has never played it before. You are some kind of wormlike creature called "Goomu" who's body is made up of individual balls. These balls connect to your head and move in a snake like manner.
The playing field is viewed from a top down perspective. The object of the game is to guide Goomu to the exit in each level, without being killed by enemies or explosion in the process.
The tricky part is that the exits are initially hidden and have to be opened by collecting all the food pellets that are spread out over the level. This is where the game takes a stand and laughs in the face of other copycat games Instead of just walking headfirst into these pellets, you have to encircle them with your body. When your head touches any other part of your body, and a pellet is inside this loop, you receive the item.
For anyone who has ever played NiGHTS this concept will sound very familiar.
Enemies can be defeated in the same manner, but you can't just run into them. If you do so, the balls that the enemy connects with will detach from your body. Or when an enemy touches your head, you will lose a life. Whenever you lose balls, they will go all over the place, but they can always be recaptured. BTW These balls don't have to be captured using the loop technique, you only need to touch them with your head.
Now how to defeat enemies. This is pretty simple actually. With the II button you can run faster, but with the I button you can lay bombs. These bombs look like food pellets to the enemies, so when they are close enough, they will flock to them. When the bomb explodes the enemy caught in the blast will be stunned for a couple of seconds. This means it's time to loop around them and defeat them.
If you manage to capture 2 or more enemies or food pellets in 1 loop you will receive a score multiplier. The points you receive for each pellet or enemy will also depend on how long your body is. The more balls your body consists of, the lower the score. When your body only has 4 balls you will receive 6000 points per pellet, 5 balls means 5000 points, and so forth until you have 9 balls, then you will only receive 1000 points per pellet.
So the shorter your body is the more points you can collect, but the harder it gets to loop around items.
There are other items and obstacles for you to discover. Like in level 6, where you have to loop to make the background disappear where all the items and enemies are hiding behind. A bit like reversed Qix. Oh, and one last thing. Once you open an exit, you have to make sure you get to it with all the balls attached to your body, otherwise you can't get in.
The strange thing about this game is that just like Splash Lake on PCE CD², it isn't hard to find, nor could you call it expensive. And still both of these games seem to pass under the radar of so many PC Engine gamers. It's really a shame, because even though graphically it can't compete with Dracula X, on the fun level I regard them as equals.
Andy De Wilde