Your Spectrum
Issue 7, September 1984 - Joystick Jury
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J O Y S T I C K   J U R Y
Your Spectrum is on the lookout for clubs to take part in Joystick Jury. Interested??? Just drop a line to Ron Smith, Your Spectrum, 14 Rathbone Place, London W1P 1DE.
This month's joystick jurors are all members of the Stevenage Computer Club, 106 Mobbsbury Way, Stevenage, Herts. They are: Ian Hemmingway, Phil Morse, Frank Pelling, Owen Pugh and Monty Trent.
The club was formed about 18 months ago and currently has a membership of about 45, with members' ages ranging from eight to 70 years. It meets twice a month - at the Stevenage Library and the Leisure Centre. Membership costs £6 per year ... half price for children and OAPs. For more details, phone Frank Pelling on 0438 353659 (evenings and weekends).

Mastertronic / £1.99

The five darts games on this tape comprise 501, Cricket, Round the Board and Noughts and Crosses, all of which can be played on any one of four difficulty levels.
Monty The graphics are below average and the colour is only a little better. But the speed is what really lets this game down; the whole thing is written in Basic. It also has a tendency to 'crash' unaccountably.

Frank This will probably appeal to older gamesters, but might be a bit tedious for youngsters. Graphics, speed and colour are all fairly average and the absence of a crowd-roar for a high score is disappointing.

Ian Darts is a difficult game to transfer on to a computer, and is probably a bad idea anyway. But this could have been improved by a speeding-up and better use of colour.

Salamander Software / £6.95

Mutants descend from webs that break when bombarded with well-aimed spit. The creatures then drop to the surface and mutate into Weeviloids.
Frank Both colour and graphics are fairly pleasing, if not spectacular, and the speed seems to match the action quite well. It's easy on the eyes and fingers, but not particularly addictive.

Phil The distracted Llama and the ricocheting spit are both quite novel, and graphically very good There are different speeds for spiders, Weeviloids and the Llama, all of which are adequate.

Ian Everything in this game looks good - well-defined graphics, fast speed, excellent choice of colour and pleasant sound The only problem is it requires almost no effort to succeed
PSI-SPY screen

Postern / £7.95

In the labyrinth of the wandering planet, there is great wealth and adventure for anyone willing to challenge the active guardians. Collect the five keys of Zar, for without them, exit is impossible.
Ian Excellent graphics with some very fine detail - all made even better by the choice of some vivid colours. It can even be bewildering until you've worked out what's going on.

Phil It looks good, and probably sounds good (it supports the Currah MicroSpeech unit), but it does appear to be needlessly complicated. After a dozen attempts, it's still not really clear what you should be doing.

Frank A photographic mind would be an advantage for memorising all the instructions in this over-complicated game; even so, once understood, it's enjoyable.

J O Y S T I C K   J U R Y

ASP / £6.99

Take command of Rome and help it to survive while the Eastern Empires are causing trouble. You have the resources of the entire Empire at your disposal; used wisely, they might just stop civilisation being swept away by the warring tribes.
Frank Attempting to quell the fall of Rome can really be quite addictive - providing you don't expect too much razmataaz-type action. A few battle scenes would improve matters.

Ian This is a good idea for a strategy game, even though the graphics aren't exactly spectacular. The map is drawn well and the result is an acceptable screen display.

Phil The inputting of all the variables is very tedious - and so is waiting for the program to make its calculations. It even responds with "Please be patient ..." while it's thinking.

Buffer Micro Ltd / £5.95

You enter the Buffer Micro shop in order to discover what goes on behind the scenes. Unfortunately, it's not possible to leave until you locate your missing credit cards and the beastly staff insist on you buying your way out.
Frank It's refreshing to come across an adventure with a theme that's quite different from all the others ... it's just a pity there are no graphics. The humour is good.

Ian An adventure behind the closed doors of a well-known, south London computer shop is a very good idea and this one is particularly well executed; very playable and difficult.

Phil While the idea behind this game is fairly good, it does suffer from being text- only and the overall presentation is average. It also takes a long time to escape.

Visions / £6.95

Meanwhile, back on the vegetable patch, help the market gardener to escape from the killer tomatoes, manic mushrooms and psycho swedes.
Ian Play begins at a fairly fast speed and increases as you progress, though not to the point where the game becomes too difficult.

Frank The graphics aren't really very inspiring, and the colours are rather dull - neither of which exactly encourage you to play on. However, the game improves a little if you're using a joystick.

Monty Sorry, but this one's really boring and unoriginal - despite the title! Gardening isn't much fun at the best of times, but it's made even worse here with the threat of angry vegetables coming after you. It's lasting appeal is absolutely zilch.


The status report area of the screen, detailing conditions of the ship (note the wacky spelling of 'weapons'). KOSMIK PIRATE screen An amazing screen layout designed to confuse all but the most patient.

This area of the screen is designated for the mighty space battles. Hope you've stayed awake that long!

Yet another status report area - this one tells you how the ship is taking the lack of strain.

Elephant Software / £5.95

As the captain of space craft Red Beard 2, you begin a reign of terror in the outer orbits of Earth. Decisions are made via the on-board computer - because, unfortunately, RB2 is out of date and doesn't possess the obligatory 'chase' feature, found in all modern craft.
Ian It's a game that tries to incorporate graphics action with information from the on-board computer. Unfortunately, the graphics are more like those to be found in ZX81 programs, and the text is often unreadable - because of the poor choice of colours. Playability is virtually non- existent, and it won't keep anyone sitting
at their machines for long.
Frank The most exciting features of this game are the blue and yellow lines that squiggle over the screen as the program is loading. The graphics are unclear and ill- defined, while the colours blend so well that it's not always possible to read the displayed information; the sound just makes matters still worse.
Owen The game is quite fast, and responds quickly to your commands; it's just a pity it doesn't include a self destruct button! There's almost no sound, which means that it can't irritate you too much; unfortunately, the graphics are aggravating and distinguishing between items of printed information is virtually impossible.
3D BAT ATTACK screen

CheetahSoft / £6.95

Trapped inside a 3D maze, trying to gather up gold blocks, your task is to fight your way along to the next level.
Frank Oh, no, not another maze game! The 3D representation of the walls is OK, and so are the bats. Use of colour is adequate, which gives quite reasonable clarity. But it's still just another unoriginal program.

Phil This game (or one very like it) first appeared as a listing in a certain magazine under the title of 3D Dracman. It was OK for free, but as a commercial product, it's awful. Graphics, colour and speed are all uninspiring.

Ian Players can choose their own degree of difficulty by entering on different levels, with a greater or lesser number of bats. Both the graphics and the colour are above average, making for a very playable game.

J O Y S T I C K   J U R Y

Eclipse Software / £5.95

This is a good old shooting gallery game where your job is to clear all the targets from the first round, then shoot the prowling bears before moving on.
Owen The sound sets the right mood for a stint in the shooting gallery, and the graphics spur you on even more. The problem is the game is easy, and soon gets boring.

Ian The graphics are average and not too exciting, and much the same can be said for the use of colour. The six available speeds help things along a bit, and it's probably very suitable for young children.

Frank While it might be ideal for computer games novices, it's still Just another version of an arcade shooting gallery program Most disappointing of all is the distinctly unimaginative use of colour.


The outer buildings of the Betula 5 installation. A total of 10 screens make up this circular space station.

The main screen report area, which tells you of attacks from the enemy spaceships.
PSYTRON screen The airlock tunnel in which saboteurs have to be chased by your droids.

This is the view from the pursuit droid as it rushes down the tunnel chasing a saboteur.

Beyond Software / £7.95

The player eventually becomes the Psytron - something less than human and more than a computer - and is put in charge of the Betula 5 installation. Your job is to cope with the defensive demands when the attack comes. The overall aim is to process the information (and highly detailed it is) supplied in the 20-page booklet accompanying the program.
Ian The graphics are excellent, with instant access to the ten views around your base, all of which detail the surrounding buildings and landscapes. And a near perfect use of colour goes even further towards making the overall display startlingly clear. Each year a program
comes along that sets the standard by which the others must be judged. Psytron is 1984's yardstick.
Frank The idea is simply splendid, and there's so much going on it's impossible to get bored. With its well-defined, clear and colourful graphics, and a manageable but challenging speed, the game is addictive from the very start, and gets more so as the player progresses.
Phil There are six levels to the game, but it'll take a great deal of practice to get there - especially as the speed is very fast. However, there's not a lot of sound used, but this goes unnoticed alongside the superb graphics. Overall, it's one of the most interesting games to come on to the market.
ANTICS screen

Bug-Byte / £5.95

Boris Bee has been captured by the vicious ants and is being held captive somewhere in their nest. Luckily, help is at hand in the shape of cousin Barnabee.
Frank The idea's quite good, but it's not clear why a bee should be found in an ants nest. Nevertheless, realistic use of colour, high-standard graphics and a comfortably slow playing speed make playing enjoyable.

Ian A very addictive game that'll give hours of amusement, even though there are many similar programs on the market. A lot of thought has gone into the graphics.

Phil Barnabee buzzes sedately around, while the ants and bugs tramp after him. The 'nibbling' sound effects are rather nice and it's well worth buying if only for the superb demonstration of the sound capabilities.

Incentive Software / £5.95

Having just written what you consider to be a commercially viable program, your job now is to try and sell it. With just £500 of your own, the ultimate aim is to achieve millionaire status.
Frank Since 95 per cent of this game is question and answer; the graphics aren't really important - even so, they look good. For me, there's nothing like testing your ability to succeed in business.

Ian There are many games of this type on the market, but wheeling and dealing in an effort to make a million is great fun - especially with characters like 'Honest Harry'.

Phil While it's fun to play, the lack of originality is a big problem, and I found the virtual absence of graphics and sound tended to make playing just a little tedious.
PAC-MAN screen

Atarisoft / £9.95

The Pac-man, as usual, scores points by eating all the dots in the maze while avoiding the pursuing ghosts. There are four flashing power pills, located one in each corner of the screen.
Owen It's totally unoriginal, but that doesn't make a bit of difference to the playability. The speed increases as you progress and the colour is just right.

Ian Atari has Spectrumised its old favourite - it's just as good as the original and is not likely to be equalled. It's also nice that all the sound effects have been included.

Frank Technically it's as good as most other Pacman type games and no doubt some people will go for it. However, there must be better similar games now available, even though the speed gets quite challenging.
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