|Starting this issue Your Spectrum will be touring computer clubs up and down the country in an effort to find dedicated games enthusiasts who will give us their impressions, thoughts and feelings on the current selection of new releases. Little do they know it, but these unsuspecting souls will be contributing a large slice of our regular review section in the future.|
CDS MICROSYSTEMS / £5.95
A semi-adventure where you wander round the screen coming across various animals which all ask you to play games, or solve riddles. Really, a sort of compendium of games rolled into one.
Peter This is a collection of bad 'magazine type' programs thrown together, with less than spectacular graphics and an average choice of colours. And because it's written in Basic, it's not particularly fast.
Stewart There's an overall strategy theme, with varying speeds for each section - although it's never dazzlingly fast. You'll find such items as gorilla-gambling, snake-shooting and guessing games.
Stephen This is a sort of adventure, but the player need not be too skilful at arcade games to succeed.
CONTRAST SOFTWARE / £5.95
A Defender-type game in which you are (according to the classic game theme) the last survivor of the planetwide attack, and as the last one left, it is up to you to save the rest of the planet.
Peter Speed, colour and graphics are all just above average, but perhaps the graphics could have been a little better considering this is a 48K game. Overall, a poorly presented Defender conversion.
Stewart It's quite fast, but slows down considerably if the player fires continuously. And there's little variation between the four screens, which makes it boring in a matter of minutes.
Ryan Could become a best seller! Only one complaint - and that's the choice of keys.
VIRGIN GAMES / £5.95
An original idea that involves you in stealing the loot, and avoiding the searchlight as it scans the screen.
Peter Although this program was put together using the Softek compiler, it's still awfully slow and the graphics have taken a backward leap in time to the simple block graphics of the ZX81. It did seem that Virgin Games were improving their software selection ...
Stewart Unbelievably slow, this game is a long way behind the times graphically, and generally leaves a lot to be desired.
Corrie Basically, very slow. Not bad overall and an original idea but frankly, a rotten presentation.
FANTASY SOFTWARE / £6.50
A graphics adventure in the true sense of the word. You control a little man who zooms around the castle, collecting various objects, etc. It's similar in style to Atic Atac.
Stewart The nasties are nicely designed, and their movement is delightfully smooth. Constant attention is demanded by the 'Urks' and 'Carthrogs' as they rush around the screen.
Peter Here is a very colourful arcade game with an adventure-type aim. Very enjoyable and well worth a look.
Stephen Quite a slow response to the player's directions, even when using a joystick. Otherwise, I liked it.
PAT THE POSTMAN
MIKRO-GEN / £6.95
The concept of this game is simple; all the player has to do is to help Pat - the amnesiac postman - collect parcels from various houses and take them to the Post Office.
Peter Good colour, bad graphics and very slow. But the worst part about this game is the lack of instructions, which makes it a bit difficult to find out what's going on.
Stewart Simple block graphics and average use of colour are the extent of this game's presentation.
Ryan Definitely not one of Mikro-Gen's best efforts. There are much better games around for the money.
RICHARD SHEPHERD SOFTWARE / £6.50
A truly graphic adventure, with a picture for each location you wish to visit. You are wandering around Scarborough and, like everyone else, our main aim in life is to escape!
Corrie The graphics are quite exceptional in this program, and there's no fuzziness where the colours meet. Definitely a good adventure, and one that I highly recommend.
Stewart Graphic representation of each location can be found in this program, and these vary from simple line drawings to some quite detailed scenes. Generally I prefer to see adventures use up memory for ideas rather than pictures, but at least the program does it competently.
Peter The response time is not as fast as it could be, but the use of colour and graphics are very good. An extremely entertaining game.
CARNELL SOFTWARE / £4.95
A very graphical adventure, in the same style of Atic Atac (in that you look down upon the action from above). You can choose your weapons, etc, by picking them up off the floor of the crypt. An extremely. complex game, with graphics and text.
Peter The graphics are used imaginatively throughout this game, and the response time isn't bad. Overall, it's a very nice graphical adventure.
Stewart The speed of this game is adequate, given that it is essentially an adventure game. I would describe the use of colour and graphics as average. A complex adventure, but I found ways of cheating quite easily.
Stephen You can select which level you wish to play and, at the end, the game refuses to tell you the secret of the Crypt!
GAMES MACHINE / £5.95
You have to catch barrels as they drop from the top of the screen, aided only by your dog. Your name is Flash and the dog's name is Gordon - shouldn't it be the other way round?
Peter Written in Basic, this game is slow, the graphics are unexciting and the colour is bad. It's a very tedious game and the riddles between rounds only seem to increase the tedium.
Corrie I've seen better 16K games designed to run on old tin boxes! Well, not really - but this isn't too good.
Stewart Having achieved success in the first game, the player must answer a riddle or get through a mini-arcade game in order to move on to the next round. But subsequent rounds don't vary, even in speed, and riddles are often repeated, even when answered correctly first time round.
SOFTWARE PROJECTS / £5.95
This is a text adventure based on the world famous explorer Captain Vito who, while on a scrounging mission for lithium crystals to fuel his spacecraft, has managed to be captured by space bandits. He has just one hour to escape before the air supply runs out.
Peter Response time is average, which is just as well because there's a limit of one hour set on the game. It would have been more enjoyable had a little more humour been introduced.
Stewart Location descriptions are brief to the point of being terse, and the accepted commands are very specific, with not many clues supplied. Funny, but the player takes the part of Captain Vito - so who on earth is McKensie?
Corrie If you like adventures, but you are just a beginner, I would suggest you try something a bit easier.
OCEAN SOFTWARE / £5.90
This is a version of the arcade game Burger Time, and you take the place of a chef desperately trying to find the ingredients required to make a beefburger. Numerous attempts are made to stop you fulfilling your cooking quest.
Stewart Starts off slowly, but soon speeds up to an acceptable level. The graphics are a treat, and the burgers are actually burger-coloured, adding that extra touch of realism. A very nice game in all, but arcade games need to be better than brilliant nowadays.
Ryan Very addictive, and lots of fun. Definitely worth the money.
Peter After playing the game for some time, three short descriptions sprang to mind - very good, excellent, and b****y marvellous. Building burgers is great fun!
IT'S ONLY ROCK N'ROLL /
TOMB OF DRACULA
K-TEL / £6.95
The first of this pair is a strategy game where you take charge of a rock'n'roll band and try to take them to the top of the heap. Tomb of Dracula is a graphics adventure set in a 3D maze.
Stewart It's Only Rock'n'Roll is a text-based strategy game. I like the excerpts of the concert or the tour, but it's a shame about the music (I don't think they're going to make it to the top twenty!). Tomb of Dracula is an unexciting game, with too many obstacles.
Peter Both programs use colour quite well in places but completely neglect this aspect in others.
Corrie Both games on this tape are quite acceptable, but they're not as good as they could be. It's Only Rock'n'Roll is by far the best.
DK'TRONICS / £5.95
An original arcade game in which you have to eat as much jam and apples as you can without getting into trouble with wandering rats and bees.
Peter Most of the displays are pretty impressive and colourful, but that's not to say they couldn't have been improved upon. Overall, pretty good.
Stewart Particularly impressive are the man and rats, who grow in size the more apple and jam they eat. For a 16K program, this package contains an amusingly different theme and has some great features. For instance, lift journeys can be quite fun, especially if you judge its descent so that you squash a rat!
Stephen Play starts off very slowly, and gradually increases as progress is made. I would have liked it a bit better if the initial speed of the game had been set a little faster. That said, the game makes good use of colour and sound, and is certainly original.
SILVERSOFT / £5.95
This is an arcade game set in a maze, in which the idea is to shoot your opponent before you are yourself get blasted. Your opponents are the Electron Panzers, the Centurion and the Marauder.
Stewart Yet another maze game, this time with you in a tank that's being pursued by baddies who must be shot. Unfortunately, they shoot back - usually, and perhaps a little unfairly, with greater effect. Graphics are unexciting and use of colour average, but it does get progressively faster.
Peter Another arcade game that's similar to the 'Tanks' level of Tron, and one which I'm afraid got a little boring after 15 minutes or so.
Corrie Excellent, and with very professional graphics. I especially like the gun turret which can be turned to fire in any direction. Brain Damage is an excellent game with brilliant graphics and good sound.
ALIEN SWOOP / DOMAIN
SPACE AGE SOFTWARE / £5.95
Alien Swoop is a Galaxians-type game where you must shoot the aliens in their ranks, and also the ones that peel off and swoop down towards you. Domain is a version of the old chestnut, Kingdoms. You take the place of a country's king, and try to run the surrounding realm successfully.
Peter The use of graphics in Alien Swoop is very poor, while in Domain they're not too bad. Speed and use of colour, however, leave a lot to be desired in both games.
Stewart Alien Swoop is an extremely poor Galaxian simulation which is painfully boring. Domain, on the other hand, is a little better. It's a classic strategy game where you must rule a Norfolk village for 10 years, guarding against floods, brigands and starvation.
Ryan It's nice to see one arcade and one strategy game on the same tape, but there's plenty of room for improvement in both of them.
RED SHIFT / £9.95
A strategic wargame, based upon an original board game under licence. The plot centres around four opponents attempting world domination.
Stewart A cross between a computer- assisted wargame and a sort of graphical strategy that uses block graphics. The game requires at least two players and could, in theory, last for years! I'd say it has only limited appeal.
Peter Very colourful, with cleverly-used block graphics, although it would have been nice to have seen more detailed pictures thrown in for good measure.
Stephen Unimpressive graphics, with the use of colour reaching the same mediocre standards.
HEINEMAN-FIVE WAYS / £9.00
This is an educational adventure where players travel around Europe gathering clues and information. Its main aim is to teach geography to the 8-12 year old age group.
Peter There's a hi-res map of Europe which is very good, with the other displays also being very well laid out. It's professional and well presented.
Stewart There's a good map of Europe, and the various tables are clearly laid out - which all helps to make this a highly professional package in both presentation and program content.
Ryan The speed of the game is rather slow, but this is only to be expected in an educational adventure.
PRINT 'N' PLOTTER PRODUCTS / £7.50
Paintbox is a graphics utility which enables the user to create user-defined graphics and SCREEN$, allowing hi-res sketching with your UDGs.
Peter The presentation of this program is very good, and the demonstration pictures are excellent. It's very quick to respond, and one of the most outstanding programs I've seen this year.
Stewart A very impressive graphics utility program which enables quite stunning hi-res pictures to be drawn, saved and used within your own programs.
Stephen The demonstration contains the best graphics I've ever seen on the Spectrum. To be recommended.