Your Spectrum
Issue 4, June 1984 - SpectrumSoft
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Your Spectrum is continuing to scour the country's computer clubs to get the undiluted thoughts, feelings and impressions of dedicated games enthusiasts - in order to provide our readers with unbiased evaluations. Any club wishing to offer its reviewing services should contact Ron Smith, Spectrum Soft, 14 Rathbone Place, London W1P 1DE.


Quicksilva / £6.95

A graphic adventure through 172 rooms; avoid 40 monsters while trying to rescue the helpless and hapless Princess Paula. The usual assortment of monsters, both friendly and otherwise - and you can also use joysticks.
Gerralt Slow, with lots of 'Y/N' single key answers. Good use of colours, but it doesn't look too good if all you've got is a monochrome TV. 6/10
Ieuan The game can be crashed quite easily - which is a bit disappointing. It also takes a lot of playing before you get to understand the characteristics of the monsters. 5/10
Dilwyn Good clear graphics. It uses all the 48K of available memory, and is jolly good fun. 8/10
We sent this month's batch to the Bangor Computer Club of North Wales, where their expert reviewers got to work; their plaudits and barbs can be seen over the following pages. First, let's have a look at the club and what it offers its members.
The Bangor Computer Club was formed 18 months ago by noted author, Dilwyn Jones. He wanted to meet the needs of local home computer users, and holds meetings in member's homes on a spur-of-the-moment basis. There are currently 25 to 30 members whose ages range from 13 to 30 and, although there's no longer a fixed membership fee, those attending are expected to splash out towards the cost of the evening.
Its members have the chance to try out each other's software and exchange ideas. Members can always call upon their colleagues to help solve problems. Anyone in the area who's thinking of joining the club should contact Dilwyn on 0248 354023, outside office hours.

This month's reviewers are Ieuan Davis (25), Gerralt Jones (22) and Brian Pedlar (31); all three are long-standing members of the club and avid games enthusiasts to boot. They represent the 'Old Gold' strata of Speccy users, so we won't be expecting starry- eyed reactions to our selection of new games.

Phipps Associates / £5.00

A killer knight has captured your companion, so naturally it's your duty to carry out a rescue. Unfortunately, KK is not above doing everything in his power to stop you reaching the tower ...
Dilwyn For some reason I expected this to be a text-only adventure, when actually it's a machine code graphic arcade game. I didn't go for the choice of keys - but then it's also possible to use a Kempston joystick. 7/10
Ieuan 12th century blend of Donkey Kong and Digger. It's quite fast, indeed sometimes too fast. The knight moves and sounds like a cricket, and I also found that jumping slows down the graphics. 7/10
Gerralt Only a highest score is shown on- screen - you're not even given the satisfaction of seeing your name in lights! 7/10

Virgin Games / £5.95

A Wild West text-based adventure game set in a deserted American town after the California Gold Rush. You get line maps of streets and buildings, and the whole thing is written in Basic - there's no machine code in them thar hills, pardner!
Ieuan Ghost Town has an acceptable response time to entries, but there's no variation - so once you've solved it, well, that's it. There's only minimal use of sound. 5/10
Gerralt The game is set in a fairly small town, so it doesn't take you long to find out what's going on there. The blue and cyan colours are nice - even contrasting well on a monochrome TV. 6/10
Brian A fairly standard adventure game, but with a reasonably large vocabulary. 5/10

Heinemann / £9.95

An educational game for Spectrum teenies aged eight-to- 12 which sets out to teach observation, experimentation and the recording of data. A keyboard overlay for most controls is provided and there's an accompanying activities booklet.
Dilwyn Quite good graphics of the balloon and the instrument panel. A nice program, but at nearly £10, slightly expensive for what it is. 7/10
Ieuan This package is pitched just about right - I think it's worth the money. Speed is adequate, but then it's not meant to be Brands Hatch! It makes education fun. 8/10
Gerralt A great pity there's no accompanying sound with the game. The activities booklet is a good idea, but I did find the numbered menu a bit confusing. 7/10


Hewson Consultants / £5.95

Patrol the city streets and later the countryside destroying any Seiddabs that come into range. You control both surface-to-air missiles and a short-range radar display.
Gerralt The 3D effect is quite realistic and adds a lot to the game. The speed is good too - not too fast and not too slow. I liked the split screen display, although the idea is not all that new. 8/10
Brian You can use a Kempston joystick with this game, which certainly makes it easier to play. It's very addictive, and some useful hints for strategy are given in the sleeve instructions. 9/10
Ieuan It really needs a colour display as the monochrome fails to show up the necessary details. After a while, my eyes felt a bit strained trying to make out all that was happening on-screen. 7/10

DK'Troniks / £5.95

This one is an arcade game where you have to eat your way through a maze avoiding the deadly bulldogs and zapping them with the deadly virus. Extra points can be gained if you're at all adept at handling cherries!
Brian This is not a new concept, but it's very playable and quite fast - if anything a bit too fast. Unfortunately, there's nothing other than loading instructions on the sleeve. 7/10
Ieuan It's a good game, with enjoyable sound that doesn't slow things down at all. A joystick is handy for games of this speed; a very, very addictive game. 9/10
Dilwyn Player keys in this game can be re-defined, which seems to be the ultimate answer to joystick compatibility. When you enter in the high score name, letter descenders disappear! 8/10

Axis / price TBA

Labyrinth is a graphical 3D maze program for all who enjoy getting lost in a good game (ouch!). The plot is the simplest possible - just choose the maze size from four-by-four to 10-by-15, and off you go. You can give up at any time or you can ask for a brief glimpse of the mess you're in.
Dilwyn A great game, which could probably have been expanded to form an adventure. The graphics are still impressive even though they've been around since '82. 9/10
Gerralt 200 moves is the most allowed. Mostly Basic, the important fast bits are in machine code. However, drawing a 'help' plan is very slow. 8/10
Brian It could have made a reasonable adventure it there had been some treasure or monsters to watch out for. The graphics are pretty good. 7/10

Carnell Software / £5.95

Every day, Brandy the St Bernard dog has to face blizzards and other hindrances on his way to rescue travellers. His current adventure is to rescue his mistress from the Abominable Snowman.
Gerralt It's rather a slow game, not only is there sluggish response to the controls but the animation is also jerky. The graphics are reasonably good on the characters and the landscape, but on the whole I found it rather boring. 6/10
Ieuan Good graphics detail for the characters and the arctic landscape, but the animation is rather jerky. I found it more pleasing to the eye in monochrome. 7/10
Dilwyn Players tend to become frustrated at having to go through the first rather silly stage, every time the game re- starts. But overall. not too bad. 8/10
WAR 70 screen

WAR 70
CCS / £5.50

A Napoleonic wargame set in the 18th Century for two players. The object is to capture your opponent's capital city by occupying it with your army for three days. This game took second prize at the Cambridge awards back in '83.
Gerralt Fairly good graphics, although perhaps they could have been a bit clearer; also the tokens are a bit small. The long explanatory sheet should have carried more details. 7/10
Dilwyn It sometimes takes a long time to set up the positions but the use of colour for the various positions is quite good. 7/10
Ieuan It's a game that could take all day; it's certainly very involved - good for the war games enthusiast! At least the close of play position can be saved to tape and the game continued another day. 8/10

Softel / £6.95

This is a combined text and graphic adventure game where you have to drive a car to compete in the great Island Treasure Hunt. The graphics appear to be very good, apart from the flashing border which tends to rather distract your attention from the instructions which appear on the screen.
Unfortunately, we all found that using certain entries caused the computer the crash and lock out the keyboard! That's more or less all we can say about the game, because after four hours of playing Micro Drivin' we couldn't even manage to get the car to move off the starting line. We thought we'd better have a good read of the listing, but even that failed to solve the problem!
By the way, don't be fooled by the title, this program is not Microdrive compatible.


Ocean Software / £5.90

Arctic thrills and chills with Percy, Growler and the Snowbugs. First of all you have to rescue Percy the penguin and then battle against the Snowbugs, using the available ice-blocks as protection against them.
Ieuan The three crosses of the awkward Frogger-style beginning spoil the rest of the program. Excellent sound, especially the harmonious jingle. The graphics are also very good. 8/10
Dilwyn The coloured snakes racing around the screen got on my nerves after a while, but technically it's a great effect - typical of many of the fine finishing touches to this game. 8/10
Brian The second stage of the game is rather faster than the first, but great once you get to it. Lovely smooth animation and it's compatible with most joystick interfaces. 9/10

CCS / £5.00

A business management simulation game in which companies have to be run by one to six players; they have to show a suitable degree of business acumen.
Brian Oligopoly is a very complex game which seems to succeed as an excellent business simulation. Sometimes it says 'Press any key', waits for a while and then goes ahead without a keypress - which is annoying because it's difficult enough to show a profit without anything else going wrong. 7/10
Ieuan As a business program, it doesn't sell itself very well and seems as though it was originally written for the ZX81. It would probably benefit from a splash of colour and a new character set. 6/10
Dilwyn It has a facility to use the printer if desired and the computer can run a rival firm. Perhaps there could be some educational uses here. 6/10

Artic Computing / £6.95

Ted the bear has to fetch batteries for his (Sinclair Research?) electric car - but is hindered by several 'teddy boys' who insist on making things difficult.
Dilwyn Fantastic graphics and animation accompanied by the 'Teddy Bear's Picnic' tune - which can be turned off once it gets to you. The only problem is the marring of the colour resolution where two colours meet. 9/10
Ieuan Quite addictive and wonderful animation considering all the action involved. Bear Bovver uses a poster- style set of letters which is quite attractive. 9/10
Brian Not too bad. Well thought-out, with the bonus drinks and the fact you're able to deter the opposition by dropping time bombs or burying them under a battery! Good sleeve notes are an advantage. 8/10

Carnell Software / £5.95

You are a wizard in your magic circle and you have to use your magic talisman to do battle with the armies of Hell who throw spells at you. Neither you nor the attackers are allowed to touch the magic circle, even if continuous fighting has partly erased it.
Ieuan Reminds me a bit of Asteroids. The 'rotate through 45 degrees' feature is a nuisance - it should allow simultaneous keypress or joystick diagonals instead. 7/10
Dilwyn Other than Ieuan's comment, a nice game. Slow at first, but once it gets going it's fun to play. 8/10
Gerralt All events are covered with a 'zap' or 'ping'. The sound slows things down a bit which, once the game has got into top gear, causes a little jerkiness. There doesn't seem to be a time limit as long as you keep alive. 7/10
RIDER screen

Virgin Games / £5.95

An MI5 agent parachutes into enemy territory, collects a Resistance motor bike and checks out the mined roads ready for the invasion - ta-rah and toodle-pip!
Brian Good colour and graphics throughout. The game also improves in speed after you've managed to get over the first stage - watch out for the sound effects too. 7/10
Gerralt The parachute bit at the beginning is too slow and long, especially when you consider this game's meant to be about riding a bike - which, by the way, is by far the most interesting bit. 6/10
Dilwyn This one really wasn't my cup of tea at all. I think it was the long intro that put me off the most. There's some you love and some you don't. Say no more. 4/10

Heinemann / £9.95

Another educational game for eight-to- 12 year olds which this time has a mathematical slant - towards teaching arithmetic, graphs and strategy planning. The idea is to travel around Britain choosing the appropriate vehicle and route for various tasks.
Dillwyn Fairly good graphics and route map. All units are metric for school use. It's a pity that the reference to the Welsh 'Eisteddfod' had to be mis-spelt though! 7/10
Ieuan No sound again! Useful activity booklet and keyboard overlay. The package is better than most educational software, but I'm not sure how long it will keep the kids' interest. 6/10
Gerralt Basically, a fairly simple concept done quite well; a bit more animation would probably have helped to keep the attention of the users. 7/10
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