8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Game Title:- REPTON 3 Four Game Compilation ( also includes Repton Thru Time, Around The World In 40 Screens, and Life Of Repton ) Available From:- ProAction 40,Honiton Road Romford Essex RM7 9AJ Price:- £11.05 ( £8.05 to 8BS Members ) Format:- Various, to suit all 8-Bit machines For those of you who have previously seen the results of me being let loose on a wordprocessor, and don't fancy wading through yards of woffle, I have put my concluding paragraph here at the top. Repton 3 is one of the all-time classic games for our machines, and now that it has been released with all it's subsequent add-ons contained in the one package, it really is the time to add it to your collection. It has all the addictive qualities that should really require it to carry a Health Warning on the cover. However, the game being as good as it is, I cannot do other than recommend this compilation to anyone who is looking for a game that is at once simple yet challenging. The graphics are good without being gimmicky, and respond very quickly to keyboard input. Although the Screen Editor offers the possibility of endless new variations, the game as it stands does have the potential to actually be completed. So many other games only offer the chance to beat a previous- highest score, relying heavily on your speed of reaction, ie how quickly you can press the Fire button. Some of the screens in Repton also require this fast and accurate fingerwork, but by no means all. The facility to pause the game and study a map, or go and make a cup of tea, or phone a friend for advice, means that mostly there is the time to think ahead and solve the next puzzle on each game-screen. This is not to say that you need to have a high forehead to both play and enjoy the game; my 8-year- old son has been playing it for the past 3 years, and has quite often amazed ( and thoroughly annoyed ) me by casually waltzing through a puzzle which had sent my frown muscles into overdrive. ( I can still knock his bloomin socks off at draughts though! ) To sum up:- If you ain't got it yet, GET IT NOW! The more adventurous among you, seekers after truth, anyone who is waiting for the kettle to boil, anyone who CAN get a good picture on Channel 5 but wants something more interesting, should read on. Remember, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED........... I am not a games reviewer. Cries of 'Gerrahtovit then!' do I hear? No, what I am trying to say is that I am not an EXPERIENCED reviewer of games. In fact this is my first effort at putting finger to key in this field, so even I don't know what will happen in the next few paragraphs! I do know that I won't be comparing this game with any other; there really are none to compare it to. I am not a great fan of zap-it-if-it- moves games; I prefer those that offer their challenge in the form of a puzzle, giving the grey cell a workout as well as the fingers. That is why, when Chris gave me the choice, I jumped at the chance to review this particular game, or perhaps I should say suite of games. The package I got from Chris had two 5.25" 80-track discs ( only side 0 of each with software on ) and one 3.5" ADFS disc ( this format intended for the Compact but seems to work OK on my Master ) along with a sheet carrying instructions for Game-play and use of the Screen Editor, all contained in the familiar A5-ish sized wallet. Some parts of the sheet I found very difficult to read, and there was no mention of the three games accompanying Repton 3. There is room on the discs for a title screen which could have listed their filenames, this would have been a nice touch and was actually what I expected to find as they were not on the sheet. If like me you are familiar with the Game and the Editor ( the Screen Editor, not Chris ) then you won't need to read the instructions anyway. I wrote to ProAction about the omission and David Bradforth very kindly phoned me and, amongst other things, said that the sheet I had received was only an interim measure, and that future versions would be more legible and also contain the names of all the screen-files. What can one say about Repton 3 that has not already been said? It is poorly designed, the graphics are lousy, the puzzles present no real challenge, it is boring to play and totally unaddictive. All these things have not already been said about it, but only because they are not true! This tiny character stands tall amongst the all-time greats of computer games. Enough of the purple prose already! What I am trying to say is that this game, unlike so many others before and since, is easy to learn and play yet can be so frustratingly difficult to master. Repton is the eponymous ( look it up, I had to ) character which you move around the tunnels whilst collecting diamonds, releasing trapped spirits, avoiding deadly spreading fungus, dodging falling rocks and eggs which hatch into hungry monsters when disturbed. All this is accompanied by some gentle sound effects and a jolly-but-repetitive tune, either of which can be turned on or off at the status screen. A crown must be collected and a timebomb defused before each screen can be finished. This is not as easy as it might sound; whilst some of the tunnel walls can be dug through, others are impervious rock. Those walls which can be dug through often result in rocks falling; either onto Repton, resulting in the loss of a life, or into a tunnel and blocking it, thus preventing access to other parts of the screen. Sometimes there is a transporter to get you to the parts you could not otherwise reach but, even using these, most screens still need to be played in a particular sequence to enable successful completion. All this must be done within a time limit, although this is usually fairly generous, and the status screen tells you how much time you have left. Although filling the monitor screen, only a part of each entire game-screen is actually displayed during play, so choosing the best route is not easy. The game gives the option of viewing a map for some ( but not all ) of the screens, at any time during play. Careful study of those which are available ( the timer freezes when the maps or the status screen are displayed ) should enable you to work out the best route to success, but for the rest it is down to trial and ( very often, much ) error! Even with the aid of the maps, it can still take a orful lot of practise, and patience, as well as some nimble finger-work, to complete each screen. Make certain that you are sitting on a comfortable chair, as the addiction-quotient of this game is rather high, and you are liable to be sat there for some time! Having completed a screen, it's code-number is displayed; make a note of this as you will need it for access if you wish to use the Screen Editor to alter that particular screen. The title of the next screen is then displayed, and off you go again. There is no facility for saving the game up to the point you are at, but this need not be a problem, as I will explain later. Repton has been around since being released onto our screens by Superior Software in the summer of 1986. Followed about 6 months later by Repton 2, there was then a gap of about a year until the release of the imaginatively-titled Repton 3, upon which this compilation is based. I referred to this earlier as a suite of games; in reality, the three titles accompanying Repton 3 should be regarded as extra screen files rather than games in their own right. Repton assumes different guises appropriate to the location or era of each file ( Clint Eastwood in one! ), and all the other screen elements ( walls, rocks, diamonds, monsters etc ) are also suitably altered. However, the game is played in exactly the same way, albeit that the layout and puzzles differ from screen to screen. Although the title of Repton 3 did not show much imagination, this was more than made up for by the amount of thought that went into the real difference from the earlier versions - a Screen Editor. This meant the layout of each of it's 24 game-screens could be re-designed, as could the various component parts which make up the screens. This further allowed the possibility of designing totally new screens and puzzles, and there are several examples of these to be found in the 8BS pool. The Editor can be a bit tricky to get used to ( this seems to be true of all editors, be they human or machine....... ) and great care needs to be taken to ensure that you don't lose a screen that you have spent maybe several hours working on ( as I did, several times! ), but once you do get the hang of it, it really is a pleasure to use. As I said earlier, Repton 3 had 24 screens altogether, contained in 3 separate files, with 8 screens in each file. With the addition of all those from the three subsequent releases, this compilation contains 17 differently-themed files, and a massive total of 136 ( yes, one hundred and thirty six ) screens! Each of the screens has a different title, the first screen in each file also being the title of that file. This lets you load any screen from within a file, rather than having to start at the first screen each time. Of course, you need to find out the names of the screens before you can do this; either by playing through the screens in sequence or, as the game has been around for so long, getting hold of a list of all the screen titles and code numbers ( there are also various cheats which can give you infinite time/lives etc, some written by otherwise respectable editors! TUT! 'nuffsaid. ), but I am sure I can rely on you to find these out for yourself by solving each screen in turn, can't I? Be sure that if you do decide to take some short cuts, you will be found out! Should you manage to finish a file of screens in one sitting, a message will be displayed. If you have used some cheats to get there, the message will tell you to go back and start again. Of course, I have never used these cheats, and so have not seen the message, but this is what I have been told. Quick, duck, here comes another flying pig! In conclusion, the summary is at the beginning, remember? P.S. You may wonder why Repton 3, which was originally published by Superior Software over ten years ago, and still features ( along with it's sequels ) in their catalogue, is now being offered by ProAction, albeit in the form of the logical next step, ie Repton 3 and sequels all in the one package? I certainly did, and wrote to both parties inviting their comments. Both have now replied and, as I understand it, Superior intend to continue supplying existing software from their catalogue in tandem with ProAction, who will also be publishing any new software. Paul Clucas (K6X)