Benefactor is a platform and puzzle combined game in the vein of Lemmings, was developed by Digital Illusions (DICE) and published by Psygnosis in 1994. The game comes on 3 disks, or on CD for the CD32 console. It runs on OCS and ECS.
In Benefactor you control a character called Ben E. Factor, not very inventive, who is on a mission to rescue prisoners, who were abducted from their planet. They are spread throughout 60 levels in total, which are split in 6 different worlds. As far as I know, there is also unofficial data disks existing with several levels.
You will start in the underworld, controlling Ben, and your goal is to rescue the prisoners by getting them out of their cells, which you open with keys found throughout the level. Sounds easy, it’s not, because you’re not the only one running through these caves, but there’s a bunch of enemies, and traps of all kind which you want to avoid if possible, as encounters with them makes you lose health. You will also have to find switches to open doors and find new ways to proceed. Rescued prisoners will also help you achieving things, like pulling levers or helping you up. You will also find items like shoes which make you jump higher or further, sunglasses, jewels and different kinds of keys.
To complete the level, you have to free all the prisoners, and return to your starting point. You will receive a code for the next level, so that you don’t have to start over the next time you launch the game. The game has 3 difficult levels, the easier setting being quite generous with your health bar, and the most difficult will not restore your health even you finish the level, but instead the remainder is carried over to the next level. There is also a score tracker which adds points by grabbing bonus items like jewels, and depending and how much health you have left in the end.
The graphics are decent, beautiful art, only caveat is that it might seem a bit small, as also at the bottom of the screen is your score tracker, health bar and items view. There’s a lot of love to the detail, and that makes the overall visual look pleasant.
The music is also quite enjoyable, fits the game-play very well and is also accentuated by loads of different, sometimes strange and weird sound effects, which make the environments more believable. No same replaying music track looping, but nice continuous beat music.
If you like puzzle platformers, and you like Lemmings paired with Lode Runner and Flashback, all together integrated in one single game, then Benefactor is for you. It is an enjoyable journey, from start to finish, and although 60 levels don’t seem so much in the beginning, they get larger constantly and also a lot trickier, so that in the end, you’ll eventually giving up before reaching the end.
This will most likely be a screen that will pop up more often than you like.
Be courageous fellow adventurers!!
Nice little puzzle platformer with a punch, for Lemmings and Lode Runner fans alike.