Harlequin is a platform game published by Gremlin Graphics for the Amiga and Atari ST in 1992. The game was developed by The Warp Factory, the makers of Zool 2.
In this colorful and visually striking game, players take on the role of the Harlequin, a jester-like character, in a surreal world. Harlequin fires hearts of love at the enemies to kill them, which should already tell you that this is not a game like the others. You navigate through a series of side-scrolling levels, each filled with traps, enemies, and puzzles to solve. The world is huge, and the levels are all different. You will find Cutesy Land, Bomb Run, Alice in Wonderland, and many others.
The game features beautifully detailed and imaginative graphics, with atmospheric backdrops that bring the game world to life. The character sprites are well-animated, and the overall art style has a charming and whimsical quality, befitting the game's fantasy theme.
In terms of audio, Harlequin features a catchy and memorable soundtrack composed by Barry Leitch. Several tracks complement the gameplay and enhance the overall experience.
But the main quality of this - almost unknown - Amiga game is the high-quality game design. This is a unique platformer, different from any other you have played. It is original, atmospheric, and well-designed. Ok, maybe you won't find the colorful backgrounds of Zool 2, but this is a much better game, in my opinion.
As usual, one of the common concerns was the game's high difficulty level. The platforming challenges could be demanding, requiring precise timing and quick reflexes. Some levels, especially like the Alice in Wonderland one, could have been made more approachable.
However, if you have the patience to try this game, you will discover one of the best (and, for some aspects, the best) platformers ever created for the Amiga. Considering that most people don't know it and never played, it's the perfect example of a "hidden gem".