Play It Again Sam 13 Review
By Gary McCallum - E6G
Available from :-
P.O. Box 6
£11.95 (£6 8BS Members)
The thirteenth incarnation of the Play It Again Sam Series, but is it up to the
standards of the other PIAS's or is thirteen going to be unlucky for Superior
As usual there are four games on the compilation, they are :-
This is a bat and ball game with the idea being to destroy all the bricks and
progress to the next level. Frequently power-ups are dropped from bricks that
have been destroyed giving you things such as lasers and a slow ball. If this
sounds familiar that is because it is VERY heavily based on Arkanoid, the
classic arcade 'bat and ball' game.
The best way for you to picture Hyperball is to imagine Arkanoid without the
colour and detailed graphics, and then you have Hyperball. Obviously if you
haven't played/seen Arkanoid this is going to be difficult but then Arkanoid
is different from most games.
It does have a few novel features, such as the ability to buy power-ups between
levels and a few variations on Arkanoids power-ups such as collecting three
'smart blocks' to progress to the next levels, but it is basically a very poor
copy of Arkanoid. There are 6 sets of 20 levels, making a total of 120 levels.
Each set of levels can be loaded at any time from the menu screen, you can also
select between levels 1 to 9, provided you have played them before.
If it was more colourful and had better graphics, it would have been a good
game, but unfortunately after seeing Arkanoid on a BBC, this is not acceptable.
On the cover Superior have billed this as 'The best version of the classic bat
and ball game', in my opinion it isn't good enough to wash Arkanoid's boots. I
have to admit though it is better than Bat And Ball on the Welcome tape. If
you like Arkanoid, you may like this because of the gameplay. but that is
unlikely because of the standard of the colour/graphics. It's a sad day when
I say a game is bad because of the standard of the graphics, but unfortunately
today is a sad day.
In summary; good gameplay, disgraceful colour and graphics. If you like bat
and ball games and don't already have Arkanoid, beg, borrow or do something
else to get a copy of Arkanoid and avoid this one.
This is a copy of Pengo, originally released by Sega as an arcade game back in
1982. This is the third different version of this game I have seen on the BBC,
the others are H-Soft's Pengo and Vision's Pengi.
You are a penguin trapped in an ice maze populated by deadly Snobees. To
survive you have to kill all the Snobees by hurling Ice Cubes at them.
This is a good game, I've always liked Pengo games, unfortunately it isn't
quite as good as the other versions available for the BBC. First of all the
game is a little bit slower (this may help some of you). Secondly the graphics
are fractionally weaker than other versions (this is not a problem but worth
mentioning), and thirdly the music is different. In every version of Pengo
I've played the music has always been 'Popcorn', you know the tune. In this
version it has been replaced by a classical piece (I can't remember the name
of it, the one that Vanessa Mae did), anyway apart from these minor differences
Percy Penguin is a good game. I prefer Pengo and Pengi to it, but this is
close enough to warrant my recommendation if you do not have the others. If
you have Pengo or Pengi, this may be worth a look (especially considering you
get 3 other games with it).
In summary; good game, a reasonable conversion of Pengo, worth a look at the
8BS members price providing you don't have Pengo or Pengi.
This is the first of two games on PIAS 13 from Peter Scott. This game is of
the Thunderstruck/Citadel kind i.e. a platform game with various 'rooms', the
object of the game being to construct the 'core' by collecting all 12 core
parts, whilst avoiding or shooting aliens. You have four lives to complete
your task with, you also have an energy bar, on contact with an alien you lose
a little bit of energy. This is one of those games where totally avoiding the
aliens is impossible, so you have to time your moves carefully to conserve
energy. On playing it I've found this game quite hard to play but then I've
never been good at this type of game without cheating.
This game is your usual Peter Scott game, a very well polished game with great
graphics and music (providing you like the theme to Airwolf), unfortunately the
gameplay is only average. There is nothing new or groundbreaking in this game,
it's a variation on a theme.
I must state that I am not a big fan of this type of game, Palace Of Magic
being the only game of this type I liked (and that's because I could cheat and
I had a map). If you like Citadel, Thunderstruck, Starquake or Palace of
Magic, this is right up your street and I can give it the thumbs up. If like
me you don't fall into this category then I would give this game a miss.
This is another game from Peter Scott. For those of you not familiar with the
first Barbarian, it is a one-on-one combat game, the object being to kill your
opponent, either another human or the computer. Barbarian II is the flagship
game on this compilation coming on its own disk with it's own instructions.
Both Barbarian games are conversions of Commodore 64 games originally released
by Palace Software. I own a Commodore 64, but I have never played Barbarian
II before, so I was looking forward to this. Barbarian II is different from
it's predecessor; instead of having a series of fights culminating in the
rescuing of Princess Mariana (sexism was still rife when the first game was
written), you now have to progress through 3 maze-type levels with 26
individual screens per level (the Wastelands, the Caverns, and the Dungeon)
before arriving at the Inner Sanctum Of Drax. You get to choose the character
you want to control either the Barbarian or Princess Mariana (both are skilled
swords-people). On each of the three levels you will find two different
magical objects which you need to collect to help you with your task. You
also have to kill five or six different types of monsters on each of the first
three levels, some of which can be killed with a well timed blow. Having
played the game I can confirm that this is the case, although some of the
monsters are very irritating.
To aid this review I downloaded the Commodore 64 version from the Internet to
play on my C64 emulator to compare the differences. Peter Scott has done a
great job of the conversion, obviously the BBC version doesn't have the
multi-colour of the Commodore 64 version but everything else has been
converted well. I don't know whether it was Peter Scott or Superior Software
that decided to convert this game but whoever it was needs a good talking to,
especially when you consider some of the other Commodore games that could have
been converted. Both versions of this game are terrible, the control system
is easy in theory but on occasion (usually in the heat of a battle) can be
awkward especially when it comes to doing a low chop (RETURN + ?), I had the
tendency to turn around, which meant I got hit a lot. The real problem is the
actual game, it is boring and repetitive (you frequently have to fight the
same monsters). Monsters just appear out of thin air (literally) so even if
you pause for a moment after defeating a monster, another one appears.
I can't really recommend this game, it may appeal to some of you who want
something different from their fighting games, instead of the usual one-on-one
defeat a series of opponents-type game, but the BBC is not exactly
well-endowed with different fighting games so I have nothing else to recommend
in it's place.
I can probably justify this for the 8BS members price of £6: if you aren't a
member of 8BS (unlikely but possible) then avoid this one. None of the games
are more than average, Percy Penguin being my favourite, but I already have
two versions of the same game which are better. This is probably the weakest
of the first thirteen PIAS's, all of the others have at least one really good
game on them. If I was to buy this it would be to complete a collection of
Play It Again Sams. If you are in this position collect the others first and
get this one last.