Your Spectrum
Issue 19, October 1985 - Joystick Jury
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J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K JURY
It's all change again this month as we say goodbye to the irrepressible Roger Willis - you haven't heard the last of him though, you can be sure of that - and welcome Dougie Bern in his place. He joins the other two joystick jurors, Rick Robson and Ross Holman as they pass judgement on all the latest games.
It's all change on the scoring system too! Out go the hits and misses and the score out of five. So that the joystick jurors can draw more subtle distinctions between games, they're now giving the scores out of ten. If there's anything else you think they should be telling you, let 'em know!

CRL / £9.95

Dougie: It must be everyone's dream to drive a massive juggernaut around the streets ... but if this game's anything to go by, there were extremely lucky pedestrians out there the day I
made the decision not to get behind the wheel.
Once you've had a good drive around in practice mode (the easy bit), you're ready for the real thing. You're trucking for McNab & Sons, a company that deals in coal, oil, fruit and veg, and timber. Random targets are set up for how much of each commodity you've got to go and collect, and you're now ready to head off into the maze of streets; the street map is generated randomly and the pick-up points are different each time.
Handling the two forward and one reverse gears are tricky, and manoeuvring a juggernaut around the roundabout with the steering wheel can be a scream.
Re-fueling and undoing the truck's damage is done at the garages, and you can even 'phone up for help once per game if you can't find a particular commodity. One useful feature is being able to toggle between the street map and the road screens if you get lost ... I mean,
have you ever tried to read an A-Z whilst driving a juggernaut at 40mph round a tight corner?
Don't try and look over someone's shoulder to try and find out what the game's like - this is one that you'll have to sit down and play before you find out how absorbing it is. The vector graphics are clever, although sprites might have been nicer. But what the hey, it's a great game. 8/10
Rick: The GLC only let you play this during the day. Just as well as it takes a while to master this lorry and its load. Top gear if trucking's the name of your game, but I managed to melt several Yorkies before I got the truck rolling 10/4? 5/10
Ross: It's a bit tricky to master the controls, but once done this is a game to spend a good few hours with. Good smooth graphics and lots of options keep the interest alive. Well recommended. Keep on truckin'! 7/10
R O S S ' S   R A V E   O F   T H E   M O N T H
Your energy level can be topped up with the tasty hamburgers and crisps that Roland finds on his underground travels.

This'll have you glued to the set. You're armed with your Stic-o-matic super glue gun - squirt this in the direction of the welly boots before they rubber you up the wrong way!

Down on the second level you'll find an underground train. To hitch a ride, fire a globule of glue onto the track and climb aboard.
Ocean / £6.90

Ross: Roland Rat has many fans, but I'm not one of them, so I didn't know what to expect of this rodent's tale. It turns out to be a ladders and levels escapade, mirroring old Ratty's real life efforts to get up at an unratly hour and make it to the TV studios in time for his early morning show. As any true rat should, Roland starts his day down in the sewers, scrambling about to get out.
This is a game for clever rats, that use ladders and assemble keys and other unrat- like activities, but then again Roland has traded in his cage for a TV presenter's chair! His two main worries, are his high metabolic rate which means he gets hungry all the time and the energy gauge drops rapidly. The other major rat-traps are the marauding wellies. Now you know! People may hate rats, but rats hate wellies! Roland can quell his hunger pangs quite nicely with the tit-bits he finds, and he can beat the boots by firing glue pellets to stick the welly to the spot!
By exiting to the left or right of a screen, you can take Roland to new levels and pipework. It's an idea to make him a map though, or he could get quite lost in this rat- race. Once he's escaped, other adventures will befall him. A rat's work is never done ... 8/10
Rick: With so much glue about, this ain't a game to be sniffed at. I didn't know Roland was so stuck up. Still you won't come to a sticky end with this winner from Ocean. No- one could feel ratty playing this! 8/10
Dougie: I must admit that I like games that you can map ... and this is a classic. In fact, you're going to be in trouble if you don't. For Roland Ratfans this is a must. For the rest of you - you're missing out! 8/10
Along the top of the upper level you'll get a view of what's going on in the real world - but wait this can't be the real world 'cos that's a C5 - and no- one drives around in those! Dotted around the underground system you'll find packets of Stic-o-matic super glue to replenish your supplies as they dwindle. Don't use it all at once or you'll find that you'll run out just as you need it.
If you're looking for an easy way out of a sticky situation, then one of these doors leads across a pipe to another set of rooms. And fortunately, the meanies can't dog your footsteps.

Beware the jet set wellies - they'll sap your energy if you head straight for them. Use the glue to hold 'em fast for a while - go on, stick the boot in!

J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K JURY

Mirrorsoft / £6.95

Ross: Hallo ... what have we got here then? Looks like a man of that all too familiar Jet Set
Willy ilk! But hang on! This Dynamite Dan chap is decidedly more dynamic than his earlier rivals. Why do I say that when the basic idea is a collecting- objects- from- a- many-roomed- building- clone? Good question, but the mission that Dynamite Dan takes on is pretty high on the excitement stakes! You'll find that this is the very cornflour of a Bond-movie-type plot when you get to grips with the story. The courageous DD is out to rescue the plans for a deadly weapon stolen by the dastardly, devilish Doctor Blitzen. As Mr Dan himself you have to land your Zeppelin on the castle's rooftop, way up on a cliff. You must then gather together as much dynamite as you can to blow that safe where the plans are, sky-high!
So what else is new in Dynamite Dan? This
man is a pretty big sprite, and pretty spritely he is too! His movements beat other games literally by leaps and bounds as he boosts his jumping power by springing, Zebedee style on trampolines and bouncy floors!
The screens are bright and colourful and as funny and action-packed as any I've seen. Dynamite Dan is a bit of a tricky one that makes you try and try to beat those screens. Not quite explosive, but plenty of fun. 7/10
Rick: Achtung! Achtung! Dynamite Dan, the man you've never heard of is coming to town! Wait till you hear the music on this good-humoured-family frolic, you'll be hooked immediately! 6/10
Dougie: It seems that Mirrorsoft has taken all the good bits from the classics and bunged them all in together. Great stuff! 8/10
R I C K ' S   R A V E   O F   T H E   M O N T H
  My, haven't we done well. (No! Ed) This large area shows just what you've collected so far - and that can he summed up in one word - zilch. You get the picture? THE COVENANT
PSS / £6.95

Rick: One for all you raiders of the lost Arcade. An adventure with a platform element, this game combines something of a Dr. Who scenario with an intergalactic Roots saga. A game most certainly for the skilful, not the wilful, as just one false blast (well only a few anyway) on your retro will doom your ancestral race, to oblivion. As a cosmic culture-vulture your mission impossible is to retrieve the 64 pieces of your people's covenant. You won't find 'Darwin was here' scratched on any of the multitudinous caverns in this game, as it's actually the groovy ghoulies who threaten your existence. They're miraculously transmuted into your own descendants once you've captured them all - it's a wonderful thing evolution.
But what am I doing, I can't go on telling you the plot! Let me tell you about the revival of the bubble car instead. You must manoeuvre your spherical craft, in a roundabout way through rocky caverns and around ledges. Don't worry about bursting the bubble, you can quite safely smash it into walls. But be warned, it's no smooth ride in your floating globe. You'll need a pretty nifty touch to control the craft as the friction factor's high, so don't expect to slip around gracefully like the ball in a Steve Davis trick shot. And don't waste energy searching for a recharging spot either.
If you've got Superman-type- saviour-of- the-world instincts, then you should have plenty of fun with The Covenant, and it really does put the joy back into joystick! 8/10
Ross: I know software can be adventurous, but the thought of being the last bastion of a whole threatened race is hard to get used to! Luckily, controlling the vehicle and avoiding grand caverns takes your mind off the seriousness of your task! Watch out Indiana Jones, you've got a rival! 6/10
Dougie: The graphics are fairly average, but the game is well up to scratch. It takes a bit of practice to get really good, and there's no chance of me finding all 64 bits of the covenant ... but that's no problem. Fun, fun, fun. 8/10

Your lives are illustrated by the three hearts. When they pump purple, you're in good shape but like this, blue, cold and lifeless, it's clear you've had one heart attack too many.

What have we got here - a key! You can use it to open one of the treasure chests where you'll find a piece of the coveted covenant.

THE COVENANT status screen
The bubble car's making a comeback! You have two choices when it comes to transport - in the pod here or Shank's pony, but you'll have less protection then. The catch is that you can't pick anything up or recharge your energy when you're inside your womb with a view.

Don't let 'em get you in a corner. The meanies move in a crescent shaped patch and you'll have to take avoiding action if you don't want your power drained.

Look for level ground if you want to disembark from your globe or yo- could be in big trouble at touchdown.

The plants are harmless and just for decoration The objects you'll find, however, can boost your power cells or provide weapons - or they can do the exact opposite. The motto is, take care!
THE COVENANT game screen

J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K JURY

The Edge / £7.95

Ross: If you see yourself as something of an urban child, then you'll be intrigued to find yourself in this game caught up in the whirl of life in downtown New York. This is a complex text adventure, without the text, a city romp à la Ghostbusters.
Just as you'd expect in the Big Apple the results of your actions vary according to your location. For example, if your man's background is buildings and distant skyscrapers, you can move him left or right and get him to pick up objects.
So where do the spirit's come in to all this? All over the place. You'll be zapping them with your ghetto-blaster ... er I mean ghost-blaster, and watch out for those invisible ghosts too ...
You'll be kept in the picture about which objects you have by a small area at the bottom left of the screen. Life in the big city won't get dull with objects such as a lazer-gun, a bone, a computer and a mouse to keep you going! Gauges will keep a check on your fatigue and sanity levels (Where's my analyst? Ed.) so that you can get nearer your object. And what's that? To reach Liberty island it seems. Something of an all American dream methinks ... 6/10
Rick: Hampstead in piccies for the streetwise kids, and most of the jokes are stale. 5/10
Dougie: OK dirty rat.. don't mess with the big boys or we'll send the mafioso spirits round to haunt you ... James Cagney would've loved to mess around in this game. 6/10
ON THE RUN screen

Design Design / £6.90

Rick: Flower power is the name of the game in
this lazy, mazy arcade adventure. As Ace investigator Rick Swift you have to discover six flasks of dangerous chemicals before they go critical - which takes about an hour. I got critical of this after ten minutes. But then I've got no patience - especially if there's danger involved!
So what exactly are you "on the run" from? Along the way you're plagued by mutations of plant and animal life that sap the power out of your protective suit. It makes a change to be eaten by rather than eat a mushroom.
With all the thrills and none of the spills of actually living near Windscale, nice light joystick control and enough freaky fungoid and gnashing teeth to rouse anyone's blood lust, this is a good solid game with few failings
but no novel fascination. There's no maze map or preview facility so there are plenty of occasions when you'll float unwittingly into a field of ferocious flora and fauna. That's when those smart bombs are so handy. A goodish buy if you've no equivalent. But otherwise don't bother. 6/10
Ross: This game is quite a departure from the usual offerings. The graphics are quite pretty, but the Jetman doesn't get very animated. It's not in the running for any great accolades. 6/10
Dougie: Not a game for garden lovers - you'll soon find yourself walking around your backyard hesitantly! The game is competent, but nothing special. Take a good look at it before you decide. 7/10

Datasoft / £7.95

Rick: Stone me, if it's not another (if not the
original) grand prix simulation game.
As the holder of no less than 9 provisional licences, I lapped up the idea. A golden oldie that pre-dates history lessons and is slightly more raunchy. Arcaders will either groan with the familiarity of it all, or welcome it as an old friend into the swelling cohorts of Spectrum games.
So what d'ya do then? Quite simply whizz your mighty McLaren around the mountain encircled track within the allotted qualifying time. Just feel the horse power throb in the grip of your joystick ... the faster you qualify, the higher up the grid you climb. Then for the race proper. Avoid banging your comrades, (in any position, let alone Pole), or pranging the placards as you try to set a new lap record or get a high score.
This game has good, if not world championship graphics. Added to joystick responses this Pole's Position could be first past the flag, compared to say Chequered Flag. No matter how many times you burst into flames, your car keeps going. Whatever your position on racing games try the Pole one. 8/10
Ross: Hang on a minute, it may be 1 o'clock in the morning but I can still spot that this is a re-release of Atarisoft's Pole Position. The roadside signs may've been changed, but the game's the same. Might be cheaper to find the old version. 7/10
Dougie: I must admit that the first time I saw this game was on the Commie 64, but the Spectrum version is just as good, and addictive too. Lots of action here, and it's fast ...! 8/10

Mastertronic / £1.99

Dougie: Action Biker sports three (count 'em) loading screens, one of which is an uninspired advert for a packet of brandname 'crispy corn fries'. So, having been brainwashed into lashing out on a packet of said fries, I sat down to see if the game was as good.
Clumsy Colin, our hero on a bike, has to seek out his mate Marti in one of 150 houses on a very colourful housing estate. A feeble on-screen speedometer registers how fast you drive around the lanes, but what with oil all over the road, other vehicles smashing into you, and tight corners every time you look up, there's no chance of reaching high speeds.
Searching a house, which is depicted in
a pseudo-3D plan view, is pretty fruitless - but you do occasionally come across some 'go-faster' accessory for Clumsy Colin's bike, such as some headlamps or special wheels.
On-screen graphics are pretty jerky, and the scrolling leaves a lot to be desired. Not one that I could recommend. 3/10
Ross: OK, so it's cheap but that doesn't have to mean nasty all the time. It'll keep you occupied as long as it takes to eat a bag of crisps. 2/10
Rick: So, this is what our very own action biker, Willis is up to now he's left Joystick Jury! But no, he would've picked a game with more class. 3/10

J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K JURY
TALOS screen

Silversoft / £7.95

Dougie: The usual old twaddle of a storyline - but the game's not bad if you're into Ultimate-type clones.
The story goes like this ... the Crown of Destiny (You know the one. Ed.) has been stolen and locked up in an impenetrable vault (and if this game tells you it's impenetrable, you'd better believe it!). Of course, the only way to get the crown back is to call in the help of Talos, the invincible robot. Trouble is, all that's left of the old boy is his hand - so the hand sets off to find the rest of its body ... and no dirty laughs, we're talking arms', 'legs' and a 'torso' here.
There are loads of locations - definitely one to map!
As for the action, the hand must first find its arm, then the torso, and then the rest of the bits and pieces. Once the hand's become a full-blown arm, it does present a larger target for all the murderous creatures, such as grasshoppers, sheep, birds and tortoises, that
explode out of the ether in true Ultimate-style.
Apart from the occasional signpost pointing the way, there's very little on- screen to get your bearings from.
A candle burns away in the corner of the screen, waxing and waning with your fortune; however, until you've had a lot of practice, be prepared to snuff it.
All in all, very much like an Ultimate game - but then using one terrific game as a model for another never did JSW any harm. I, for one, would be prepared to give a big hand to Talos. 8/10
Ross: You've got to hand it to them - this may remind you of Sabre Wulf but it's still up there in the addictiveness stakes. 7/10
Rick: You won't catch me forking out an arm and a leg for this one, but it's still worth casting an eye over if just for the neat graphics. 5/10

Gremlin Graphics / £7.95

Ross: If you're looking for exotic moments of Eastern promise, then get back to your Turkish Delight. Abu Simbel Profanation may be set in Egypt, but it's about as full of oriental mystique as a Chinese take-away. The graphic backdrops make decent scenery but unfortunately, there's nothing too theatrical about the action.
Forget the idea of majestic looking Egyptian Pharaohs, the man whose strings you have to pull is more of a blob on legs. His movements are jerky rather than heroic, and he escapes the collision detection pretty successfully at times.
Timing your jumps in the first screen is enough to try the patience of a mummy. Also, immortality in this game is a little mundane.
When you lose one of your many lives, you reappear at the point where you entered the room. This is no joke as often you've spent a while trying to defeat one obstacle, only to be killed by another further into the room.
It's all pretty mediocre stuff, and I doubt Cleopatra would be charmed if she played it. 4/10
Rick: You can tell why Gremlin calls this Profanation - I'd be swearing if I was permanently stuck in this Egyptian hokum. 4/10
Dougie: Everything seemed against me, including the jerky graphics. I liked the idea of the game ... but the reality never quite came up to the expectations. 3/10

Hewson Consultants / £5.95

Rick: "Live out your dreams on the Southern Belle" (Who she? Ed.) But it's not really a dreamworld. This cunning cassette has nothing to do with sultry Southern women though Dad's more likely to get steamed up over this than he did over your train set! But nostalgia ain't what it used to be as the age of steam meets the age of the microchip.
The game faithfully re-enacts the Southern Belle's hour long journey from London Victoria to Brighton. The brain takes the strain and the computer plays commuter as you try to keep to schedule without letting the coal or water run down. But it's all a little too predictable.
And why not choose a more thrilling run like that of the Mallard if you want speedy excitement? Pre-Beeching in its evocation of steam romance - pre- historic in its chug-along concept. Give me the 125 any day. 6/10
Ross: The wide range of control options offered in this game made it possible for me to get the train in motion without even using the instructions! But once I was merrily chuff, chuffing down the track, I wished I wasn't there. 4/10
Dougie: Well, it's a welcome change from space games, but it doesn't quite make the grade to become a classic. What it lacks is some excitement. 5/10

Database Software / £8.95

Dougie: Looking through the 24-page manual for this simulation isn't an inspiring task - the words
tell you all about the Red Arrows' celebrated career, their planes and their successes ... and eventually ... on to the game itself. Which is what we're here for!
Once you've digested the relevant 10 pages of playing hints and tips, you can decide to fly in formation or solo. Solo is, of course, flying on your own. Boring. Flying in formation, however, is OK - a bit like Come Dancing with jet aircraft.
The control panel is, as always, crammed with every kind of indicator imaginable. Of course, no-one ever looks at these ... but they're there if you want.
The graphics are good and chunky, but pixel graphics might have introduced a more interesting in-flight display.
Your role in this simulation is to keep up with
the rest of the lads on-screen. And if you fail in your manoeuvres, you end up parachuting down out of your plane ...
Oh, one last thing. Aficionados will be interested to hear there's a competition included in the package. This could be your chance to meet up with the real Red Arrows! 7/10
Rick: As soon as I loaded this one up, I switched from automatic pilot into top speed games-playing mode. I didn't mind lagging behind the other high-flyers - after all, who gets to parachute every day? Swoop down on this one chaps! 6/10
Ross: I think I've had enough of these magnificent games about flying machines, but I admit that there's more to this than plain flying. It's artistic innit, like! 5/10

J . . O . . Y . . S . . T . . I . . C . . K JURY

Taskset / £7.95

Dougie: First off, don't be taken in by the screenshots from the Commie 64 version on the inlay card. The Spectrum version's screens are
just as interesting, the sprites are just as fast and smooth, but the graphics aren't as pretty and the designer chappy who colours it all in must have had the afternoon off.
But if looks don't matter too much, then this game's a treat. It's a bit of an exercise in uncontrolled mayhem, but it does have a cute story so it can't be that violent!
Foreman Fred heads up a bunch of mindless workmen (who resemble Ewocks in tin hats) whose job it is to make sure that the water continues to flow through the pipeline. And why shouldn't it continue to flow? Ah, didn't I mention the deadly slugs, spanners, showers of tacks, lobsters, power drills and hammers?
The action is fast and furious - you never get too much time to consider tactics, it's just a matter of shooting all the time and patching up the leaks.
Foreman Fred fixes a leak in the pipeline by
leading one of the Munchkin workers over to the hole, whereupon the little man seems to do something rather obscene with a hammer. It's soon fixed but, oh no, another leak's started. And that's it really ... apart from the fact that every time you manage to fill a barrel full of water at the end of the pipeline, you're whisked off to another level, a different shaped pipeline, different nasties - and the same ol' mayhem.
Absurdly impossible, foolishly frustrating ... but fun. 7/10
Rick: Look, I can't hang around here. I've got a leak over there and the nasties are on my back ... Pack up the grey matter and plumb the depths! 8/10
Ross: It's only a couple of months since the original Pipeline appeared under a different company. You'd have to be really dedicated to want both but if it's only one you're after, this is it. 7/10
D O U G I E ' S   R A V E   O F   T H E   M O N T H
  You can find that fickle female, Olive Oyl behind this window - but at least you're assured of a warm welcome when you take her a heart. She loves you, she loves you not! You can tell whether you're in favour with Olive Oyl from the love meter - if it reaches zilcho, then your heart's broken, Popeye!   To get to the top of the lighthouse, you'll have to start climbing. And once you're up there, it's round and round in circles to avoid the fly. Dizzzzzy!
POPEYE home screen POPEYE lighthouse screen
Here comes trouble - big trouble! The game's played on two planes, front and back, so to avoid a bout of fisticuffs with Bluto step back out of his path. The course of true love never did run smooth. To keep Olive sweet, you'll just have to collect the hearts you find on your travels. Take them back to her straight away and your love meter will be topped up. Collect the keys or you won't be able to open the doors - and then you'll miss out on plenty of other locations - not to be missed! Get your mitts on as much of the green stuff as possible - Spinach, what d'ya think we meant? It's the only known substance that'll revive a confirmed vegetarian like Popeye.
Dk'troniks / 4.95

Dougie: At first sight, this game looks outsized. Everything is BIG! But this trauma soon passes as you come to terms with the idea that not everything has to be four pixels high and, well, who wants to wear glasses anyway.
Everyone's here - Popeye himself, Olive Oil, Bluto, the dragon ... Ah! Well, this is where we veer away from the 'Bluto chases after Popeye's girls, Popeye eats the spinach and punches out Bluto' theme.
This multi-screen adventure has got fire- breathing dragons, wicked witches, bug- eyed monsters and all sorts of other nasties. The idea is to walk Popeye around, jumping up for hearts to take back to Olive, keys and
cans of spinach, and keep out of everyone's way. Especially Bluto's. Whenever I went near that particular man-mountain, he thumped me - unfortunately, in the game the cans of spinach are used to revive poor ol' Popeye rather than giving him the strength he needs to return Bluto's compliments.
Once you've got control of the Popeye character, you can walk him all over the place, up and down stairways, shinning up and down ropes ... except when you come up against a locked door. At this point, you've got to retrace your steps and search out one of the keys.
To be honest, I wasn't too impressed at first ... but then I started uncovering all sorts of locations behind the locked doors and a
whole new set of nasties. Not being able to see all the locations at the start does make the game more interesting.
There seems to be a slight problem with the colours - figures often blend in with the background. But the characters are fun, and their movements are both clever and full of humour. 8/10
Rick: A hit, oil be bound, and there are plenty of hits and fists in Popeye! The world's first ever vegetarian body-builder has been honoured with a game that's pretty to look at, and pretty dull to play. 4/10
Boss: Going round guzzling the green stuff all to get the goil is a good idea - and the cartoon graphics add to the fun. I'd spend the green stuff (no, not the spinach) on this game! 8/10
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