8-Bit Software Online Conversion

********************************************************************** ********** THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN COLLECTIVELY BY E2K & K1M ********* ********************************************************************** TITLE ACORNSOFT HITS vol TWO PRICE 11.95 FORMAT BBC MICRO & MASTER SERIES 5.25" DISC AVAILABLE PO BOX 6 BRIGG S.HUMBERSIDE DN20 9NH TEL 01652 658585 This is a four game compilation By SUPERIOR SOFTWARE. The games come in a plastic wallet with a double sided disc with the 40 track version on one side and the 80 track version on the other. Physically turn the the disc over for each version! Upon receiving my review copy I noticed that there did not seem to be any instructions with the disc. Never mind! Not one to be put off I dived straight into playing the games (the best part of reviewing). I later found, in small print at the BOTTOM OF THE CASE AT THE BACK; 'Remove and turn over this sheet for instructions' This is either a cheapskate way of saving money or else someone forgot to print the instruction sheets and it was a last minute thing. Either way it is a BAD idea! Any way, enough of that, into the games....... STARSHIP COMMAND ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This shoot 'em up type game has you in charge of a starship, as the title suggests! Your mission, as far as I can tell is to patrol an area of space destroying all the nasties that are also flying around. The game play is far from what I would expect from a game of this sort. The way your ship moves is somewhat unusual and takes a bit of getting used to as you don't actually move your ship, but you move the area around it. This isn't all bad because it maintains your position in the centre of the screen where you can take stock of all the action. The controls are another worrying point, as there are so many of the them. There are your left and right, thrust, break and fire keys to learn. But you also have keys for turning shields on and off, scanners and other controls too. Far too many for a simple shoot 'em up game. Joysticks and key board controls are fully catered for. Difficulty is another problem, it's set too high! It would have been nice to see a difficulty level where you could alter the game to your own abillity level. Come on chaps, don't make them so difficult that people can't get off the first stage. There are some good fine detailed graphics to this game, even if they are monotone and a bit small to boot. As you may expect there is an array of information on screen during gameplay. This gives you your score and which command you currently have (never having completed command one I can't say how many there are). You have long and short range scanners at the top right of the screen. These can be turned off and on as you wish, as can your shields. You may even have an auto setting to your shields which turns them on if enemies come too close. Graphics -------- Good fine detailed sprites with no colour at all, but very, very smooth with slick animation. Sound ----- Not bad at all but there is room for improvement, an ingame tune would not have gone amiss to complement the spot effects. Playability ----------- Lacking in most respects! This is a game that is all on or nothing at all. You could be left wanting something more. Overall ------- This is a game that most hardened players will find a challenge, but I'm not impressed at all. It's too hard first up, and you only have one chance, Too many controls to boot make this a game that I have to force myself to play. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ARCADIANS ~~~~~~~~~ Do you remember SPACE INVADERS? For those who don't (what do you mean those who don't?) you have a dinky little space ship that for some reason you can only move left and right at the bottom of the screen. With this, you must blast wave after wave of aliens (aliens again!). There are some very colourful mode 5 graphics here, nice to look at and very smoothly animated. The aliens sweep down in a variety of patterns, some very predictable indeed but that is just to lure you into complacency. They won't all be that easy (I have wounds to prove it). You have the usual complement of 3 lives and also there is a ranking system. You move up the ranks as your score increases. Graphics -------- The gameplay screen is not too cluttered, and is laid out evenly enough to see what you are shooting at, and equally to see what is shooting at you. The screen is attractive to look at as the variety of bright colours distract you from the fact that these are basically mode 5 graphics. Sound ----- This is a very noisy game, and if like me you have your BEEB in the livingroom and the TV is on you WILL be ordered to either turn the volume down or off, as the various sound effects will drive anyone who isn't playing the game insane. There are some funky explosion and swooping noises and some very groovy spot effects as well. There is even a little tune at the start of each game. Various alarms and sirens are sounding throughout the game, which add to the game very nicely. Gameplay -------- This is an easy game to play with simple left, right and fire controls. So you don't have to be a genius to play, and if you have a few mates round you have all the fun of the arcade version at a fraction of the cost. (And you don't have to worry about the attendant throwing you out for kicking the machine when yet again you've been unnecessarily killed). Overall ------- A highly addictive game that requires quick reflexes, and will give you older kids hours of fun as this game brings back all those teenage memories of all those hours spent trying to get your name to the top of the ranking list in the amusement arcade. If you enjoyed 'SPACE INVADERS' then you will love this game. My opinion still an absolutely brilliant classic. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ METEORS ~~~~~~~ This game comes with many different titles, the latest of which is METEORS. Imagine that you are piloting a small ship with a mission to destroy waves of asteroids. Well here you are, you can live in your imagination. Guide your ship through each level by obliterating the asteroids that float accross the screen and if you are not careful straight into you. The game takes place in a plain but easy to see play area. The screen does get cluttered often making it very difficult to see just what is going on at any one time. Graphics ~~~~~~~~ Wire frame graphics give this game a very boring appearance at first, but don't be deceived as the speed that the meteors and flying saucers move at make up for the plain graphics, and pretty soon you don't notice them. There are 4 colours to this game Pale blue, Purple, Red and Yellow. And I feel that this was a poor choice of colours as all but the Yellow tend to clash Sound ~~~~~ Annoying pipping sounds as you fire (which you have to do constantly), and whenever a flying saucer appears it emits a high pitch warbling noise which leaves your ears singing. Game play ~~~~~~~~~ You have to shoot all the meteors and flying saucers that you see before you can progress on to the next level, and you have to be quick as if you're not careful you can end up with everything coming at you all at once, and as you progress through the levels it becomes even harder. The controls are simple left & right rotation with thrust and fire which are very responsive, and just to be generous you can even use hyperspace to get out of bad situations. Overall ~~~~~~~ This is an intriguing little game but invariably seems quite pointless, as there does not appear to be an ultimate objective. This however is not a problem as you are soon caught up in the struggle to not get killed as wave after wave of meteors float towards you and saucers shoot at you as they float by. This is not a bad game but it is let down by poor graphics and sound, this could have been better with a little effort. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LABYRINTH ^^^^^^^^^ You play MORK in this game, and you are trapped in a maze filled with weird and nasty little creatures that you must avoid, kill or genrally mutilate to survive. All this takes place in a wonderland of attractive Mode 5 graphics, you WILL sometimes find yourself getting killed as you gaze at the incredibly smooth and basically very nice screens. The general idea behind this one is to escape from the maze that you are, unfortunately trapped in. To do this you must negotiate the vast collection of rooms to find some sort of 'Magic Crystals'. These crystals will dissolve the force fields that separate the different levels. Don't worry though as you can collect fruit to replenish your dwindling energy, keys and other items that will help you on your way. At first this game is vaguely reminiscent of REPTON, the controls are very basic but very responsive. These are just up, down, left and right with fire as your main ones. All are easily laid and are comfortable to use (as opposed to some awkward controls, oooooh thats not nice!). Graphics ^^^^^^^^ Very colourful Mode 5 graphics make this an appealing game to both play and look at. There is a patterned background which gives a nice even backdrop that doesn't clutter the screen. Sound ^^^^^ Nothing new here I'm afraid to have to report! There are a few nice spot effects and other such blips and beeps, but apart from that nothing special at all. Gameplay ^^^^^^^^ This is a maze type game where you guide Mork through all 7 levels, eating fruit and killing baddies. A good memory is needed as there does not seem to be a map that you can refer to. Overall ^^^^^^^ A time consuming game that could have been made even better with a few additions such as a map or common reference points. All in all a very good challenging game that will keep you going for many an hour. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Compiled, written & edited by K1M & E2K! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~