Play It Again Sam 17 Review
By Crispin Boylan (E4W)
Available from: Superior Software
Price: £14.95 (£6 to 8BS members)
Type of games:
Summer Olympiad - Sports
Tactic - Puzzle/Strategy
Master Break - Sporting Quiz
Videos Revenge - Shoot em up
Strangely different to the others, this compilation only features one game
actually written by Superior Software, has very sparse instructions
(instead of a sheet you get them printed on the inside of the cover) and
the packaging is different. I think this was because it was really right
at the death of the BBC era, and demand wasn't as high for new games.
Anyway, on with the review.....................
This is a game by (in my opinion) the masters of all Sports games, ever,
Tynesoft. You may remember Winter Olympiad by them as well, well this is
more of the same except the events are different! They are; Fencing,
Diving, Hurdles, Triple Jump, and Clay Pigeon Shooting. Basically the aim
is to do as well in each event as possible, gaining either a Gold, Silver
or Bronze, the winner at the end being the one with the most Gold Medals.
You can play this game with up to three friends, the places not played by
humans being controlled by the BBC. There are three rounds to each event,
with your best score over the rounds being the one that counts after all
three rounds have been played, then the medals are handed out.
As you would expect from a game of this type, the gameplay is very varied,
and you always feel like playing all the way through to the end. In the
Fencing you have to touch your opponent's body three times with the sword,
whilst parrying and blocking his attempts to do the same. It is quite
random (at least the way I play it!) although the computer does use a
certain amount of skill, whereas I just wiggle the sword around! It is fun
though, the only bad thing being that you can't play against a friend, but
only against the computer. Triple Jump is next up, and is quite enjoyable,
you have to tap the Z and X keys rhythmically to get the jumper's speed
up, and then press the spacebar before he hits the white line, the amount
of time you keep the bar pressed increasing the angle at which he jumps.
This is a very skilled round, but fun. Skeet Shooting is my favourite
event, you just have to shoot the clay pigeons which are fired, the winner
being the one who hits the most clay pigeons. Hurdles is roughly the same
as Triple Jump, with the difference being you have to press the spacebar
at the right time in order to jump the fences. This is an annoying event
because however hard you try, the computer always seems to win! Diving is
fairly straightforward, just use different spins and jumps and try to get
as good a landing as possible in order to impress the judges. It is fine
in theory, but the moves aren't varied enough, and it is hard to control.
The graphics are really quite superb in this game, with nice high-
resolution screens announcing the different events, and a great Opening
Ceremony view of the Games. The game itself is played in low-resolution
mode, and in some of the events the colours do clash a bit, but they are
drawn very well. The graphics move well, no flicker, and the animation is
on the whole quite good. The music is very nice as well, there is great
opening-scene music, and also music between events, and it is a pleasure
rather than a burden to listen to! The whole game is put together
excellently, but unfortunately is not as well put together as other
Tynesoft games, particularly Winter Olympiad.
This one is programmed by a company previously unknown to me, Eterna. The
game was originally released on the Acorn Archimedes, and is basically a
twist on the age-old Tetris theme. This is quite a good idea, particularly
on the Beeb, as we have not been blessed with a decent conversion of the
old classic yet!
You have to make certain larger shapes out of the blocks and circles which
fall from the top of the screen, this gains you points, but to complete
the level you have to make a certain number of specific shapes, which is
shown by a number next to each shape which you must create from the
blocks. When you make all of these shapes, you have completed the level.
The basic shapes you have to make are: three in a horizontal line, three
in a vertical line, three in a diagonal line, four in a square shape, and
finally a cross shape, made from five shapes. You have to use identical
blocks to make each shape. This may sound good, but in practice it is not
an ideal game, it just lacks that certain enjoyment factor which you get
from Tetris, at times it can become very annoying, and the shapes are
sometimes hard to distinguish from each other.
The graphics are fairly empty, as are most puzzle game graphics, all the
shapes are standard fills and shades, and the rest of the screen is blank
apart from the walls of the playing area. The one redeeming thing about
this is that the game can cope with two players playing at the same time,
this can be more competitive, but isn't really brilliant. The sound is
also very bland, in fact there isn't much any of it at all.
Overall, not a brilliant game, but worth a play if you like this sort of
thing. It is quite good for two players, but nothing more than average.
You may have seen my earlier review on this game, but now its on disk, I
think it is worth a few more points. The basic game is a quiz snooker
game, with you having to answer questions on a myriad of subjects in order
to pot the balls.
You can play this game with up to four players, and it is definitely not a
game for you to play on your own, as you wouldn't play Trivial Pursuit on
your own! The game starts with you having to answer a red ball question,
which is easy(ish) and only worth one point. Should you get that right,
you get a choice of any coloured-ball questions, these having the same
number of points allocated to them as in the real game of snooker, ie
black is the most points, but is also the hardest. You can answer
questions on the following topics - Science & Nature, Pop Music,
Geography, Sports & Pastimes, The Arts, and History. The questions are
very testing, and as there are over 1500 of them, they'll keep you going
for a while! I did once hear rumours that Superior was releasing extra
question packs for this game, but it never happened, which is a shame.
The graphics of this game are very bland, and this disappoints me because
from a game like this, where not much movement is required, I would at
least expect the game to be laid out in a manner which is appealing to the
eye, even the loading screen is minimal. The sound is also very boring,
again I would have at least expected a musical score to accompany the
game, perhaps 'The Entertainer'?
The game is not well presented, but once you get into it, it can be a very
enjoyable game, as long as you don't play it alone! One minor gripe is
that a lot of the questions (and not just History ones!) tend to rely on
you knowing the year in which something happened, and although you get a
choice of four, it is quite repetitive.
Oh dear, not another Shoot Em Up, you'd think that by the time 1992 came
around (which is when the compilation was originally released) Superior
would have realised how hackneyed the whole genre had become, but oh no,
they stick this one on us. Written by Alligata, and hardly a classic even
when it was originally released, this is the standard shoot-everything
type of game, no plot at all.
The twist in this game is that you can either speed up or slow down the
craft you are moving in, other than that, not a great deal has changed.
You just shoot the aliens coming at you, or dodge them. As in the classic
Galaforce, the aliens attack in waves, although they aren't really
organised pattern formations as they are in Galaforce. On the whole this
is quite pointless, and the gimmick (the speed control of your ship) is
entirely unnecessary, as it breaks up the flow of the game.
The graphics are not gobsmacking, they don't use any technical wizardry to
move obscenely fast, they don't make you go 'Wow', in short they are
boring. The sound too is minimal, and not very inspiring. I can't really
think of anything good to say about this game, other than the fact that it
sits somewhere on the pile of Shoot-em-up games just above 'complete
drivel' and below 'average shoot-em-up'.
Four games, one by Superior, and it just happens to be the best of the
bunch. None of the games are particularly brilliant, in fact they are all
sort of just above mediocre. It is hardly surprising, as they were
probably scraping the barrel for good games after 16 compilations,
although PAS 18, which features Nevryon, E-Type, Holed Out, and Citadel 2,
certainly sounds better on paper!