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Acornsoft Hits 1 Review By Crispin Boylan (E4W) Available from: Superior Software Price: £11.95 (£6 to 8BS members) Type of Game: Magic Mushrooms - Platform Planetoid - Shoot-em-up Maze - First person perspective 'explore em up' Rocket Raid - Shoot-em-up Magic Mushrooms --------------- This is a very simple game to play, the basic aim being that you have to collect all the mushrooms on the screen whilst dodging the monsters. To make this harder, you have to be careful of the monsters, and also work out the best way through the level, as there are different types of platform to traverse. There are one-way platforms which make you move across them in a certain direction, disappearing platforms which disappear as you walk on them, and conveyor belts which fight against your attempts to move the opposite direction to them. You can use the jump button to jump over the monsters, but should you miss a platform and jump too far, you will die. There are ladders on the level which you can only go up, if you walk past them then they will automatically pick you up, this is quite annoying from time to time, and I feel it is unnecessary. Basically though, this is a good fun game to play, and although it is annoying at times, it is definitely more fun than some other platform games which require no thought at all to play! A rather nice addition to the game is the provision of a level editor, where you can edit any of the ten levels provided with the game. This is an excellent idea, and can really add to the enjoyment of the game, especially if you use it to get rid of all the things you find annoying on the level! The graphics of this game are done in a low-resolution, but are bold and colourful, and move well with no flicker whatsoever. The effects used are very nice, and there is no slowdown to the game even when there a lot of objects on the screen. Sound is as usual with Acornsoft games, limited to buzzes and beeps from the creatures you see on the screen, I think they could have added some more detail to the sound used. Overall, a solid game which will keep you coming back for more for quite some time! Planetoid --------- This is the only arcade conversion on the disk, and what a stormer of a game! It is a conversion of the old favourite, Defender, which was at the time of release in about 1980, a very impressive game for arcade machines, in fact I think it was one of the most advanced around! So, it is a surprise to see a conversion of this calibre on the Beeb, especially as it uses nowhere near the amount of technical jiggery-pokery that arcade machines used to use to get the now simple effects into their games. The basic aim, as I'm sure most of you know, is to shoot as many aliens as possible. Once you have killed the required number of aliens you move onto the next level with more varied enemies. To make the task harder there are some aliens which home in on you, and are very hard to kill unless you dodge your way around the scrolling screen. There are also very annoying aliens on the later levels which split into multiple parts when they are first shot at, all of these get in the way and it becomes so hard that this is as far as I have ever gotten in the game. Another option you can take which is very lucrative points-wise, is to save the people on the planet from being taken away by the aliens. You have to shoot the alien which is carrying a person, and the person then drops back to earth, or to get even more points you can pick up the person in your ship and drop him back to earth anyway. The game plays really well, and is very exciting at times, especially the way the ship handles, you can really start to move around the screen well. One annoying thing about this game is that it quickly becomes very hard to play, this happens as early as the first level, and after a while this can be frustrating. It is fun to play though, and the fact that you don't really get anywhere takes second seat. The graphics are pretty bland in this game, but what there is of them is quite good, and they do move along at an incredible speed. They are all done in low-resolution, but it doesn't look too bad, and the screen is nicely spaced out, it can even use the whole of the screen for the graphics instead of using a reduced size as some equally demanding (hardware wise) games need to. Overall I would say this is the game of the compilation, it is a great conversion. Maze ---- Throw away your Doom clones, this is the original! Yes, this is the oldest game I have ever seen which uses the first person perspective shoot-em-up format. Had Acornsoft patented this type of game, they would now be one of the richest companies in the world! This game is nowhere near as complex as Doom though, the main aim being to get out of the maze instead of shoot everything that moves. Having said that, there are robots to shoot, but these are limited to two at any one time in the maze. Basically all you must to is weave your way through the corridors, shooting a robot if you come across it, and collecting any of the various objects you find in the corridors. Once you have gotten out of the maze, you advance levels. To help you, you can look at a map which shows on it all the places you have been to, this is quite an advanced feature for the time, and one which I have not seen on some much later games of this type. The game is basically enjoyable, but you can only move around one square at a time, ie you cannot hold down the forward button and just move smoothly around, the map is divided into squares. This is slightly annoying, but I think it is a necessary limitation of the graphics engine rather than a fault with the gameplay! The graphics in this game are, for the time, astounding. The maze is a 3d construction, using large walls and they are all filled polygonal ones, making the game look very nice indeed. Apart from the glitch mentioned in the above paragraph, the graphics move very quickly indeed, and the animation of the robots is smooth if a bit simplistic. Sound, again, is limited, but one nice feature is the fact that when you get nearer and nearer to the robots, you can hear their footsteps getting louder and louder, a subtle, but important touch I feel. This isn't the most lasting of games to play, especially considering the maze is virtually empty for most of the game, but it is technically superbly done. Rocket Raid ----------- Ok, I'll be honest with you, I don't like this game. I don't exactly even know why, I have no problem with its genre, the scrolling shoot-em-up (however overdone it is), it just doesn't do it for me. It seems nice enough, you scroll along in your ship, shooting the missiles that take off, and also the fuel dumps so that you can keep your fuel up, but it just seems empty. The scenery is nice enough, but it just lacks that overall feel of being a good game. Perhaps it is the fact that there are so many keys to this game that it can be hard to remember which finger is doing what, and all too quickly you end up dead. I've tried to like this game, really I have, but it for me is impossible! It just lacks a subtlety that is needed in this type of game to make it work. The graphics in this game are very average, they are in the same mode resolution as all the other games yet somehow they look chunkier and less professional than the others. The sound again is very limited, and not really audible at all, but I think this was one of Acornsoft's earliest ones. Overall, this lets the whole package down for me, I just don't like it, I think it is something of an acquired taste! Overall ------- A good package, but it loses a few marks for having Rocket Raid in it! Otherwise it is a very enjoyable compilation to play! Score: 78%