By Crispin Boylan
Title: Play It Again Sam 14
Available From: Superior Software
Price: £11.95 (£6 to 8BS Members)
Type of Game:
Predator - Scrolling Shoot-em-up
Ballistix - Puzzle
Superior Soccer - Football
Star Port - Arcade Adventure
This is one of the few movie licenses ever released on the Beeb, in the 80's
they weren't really popular (thank god) but nowadays they are two-a-penny and
most of them are dire. Well, this one isn't really that bad, thanks to a) It
is taken from a good film b) It has been converted to the Beeb by Superior
Software, and thus is well programmed. Taken from the Arnie movie of the same
name, this is a scrolling shoot-em-up where you have to be quick to avoid other
army personnel trying to attack you, and from time to time, the deadly sights
of the predator himself!
The gameplay, not surprisingly is pretty simple, move through the jungle whilst
avoiding such enemies as Soldiers and even birds, who on contact kill you
instantly! It must be said having Arnie killed whilst fighting off a ferocious
pack of Pigeons isn't quite the way it goes in the film, but there you go.
Anyway, along the way you can swap weapons, you have to reload from time to
time anyway, but fortunately plenty of soldiers have been killed by the
Predator and they leave their guns lying around. It is quite a good play, but
it does suffer from being a little bit too hard in my opinion, there are just
too many things to shoot at once, but it does make for some action packed
gaming! Collision detection and other aspects of the programming are virtually
flawless as one would expect from Superior.
The graphics are average, they aren't going to set the world on fire or
anything but they do their job, if a bit blandly. The colours chosen are OK,
but a bit boring, mostly just orange, black, yellow and green, they go together
OK, but don't always look too good! The sound is just pings and pongs, no
music even on the high score table.
Not a bad game overall, and worth a few plays.
It has to be said, I do like this game a lot, it is very inventive and fun to
play, and has the originality that many titles sadly lack. The main object of
the game is to score goals against your opponent, be it a computer or another
human. You move the main ball with the aid of pointer, which you use to fire
smaller balls at the main ball, to get it to move up/down the screen, on the
first level this is easy, you just shoot the balls in the direction of the goal
and hopefully the ball goes in, but on later levels you are introduced to
blocking walls, holes, and other such traps which hinder you, but definitely
give an advantage to the computer player! There are about 20 levels in all,
each with passwords, and you are supposedly able to use them to jump to the
latest level you have got to, but I have never managed to find out how to do
The graphics in this game it must be said are a bit over the top, the colours
used sometimes look horrible together, in particular Cyan and Red, although
this hardly detracts from the excitement of a two-player game, they can be come
particularly manic and not one for people who like to keep their keyboards in
pristine condition, as the shoot key and be frantically pressed time and again
in order to fire more pellets at the big ball than your opponent! Sound is
actually quite good, with crowd roars when you score, and various other noises
for the ball hitting different things.
This game is a great game, not quite a classic, but getting there, and like all
great games you can play two players at once - excellent! This compilation is
worth it for this game alone, and although it is not really supposed to be the
best on the disk, I think it well beats the other three games.
There are not really many decent football games on the Beeb, Match Day is
probably the best, followed by the game from the 4th Dimension, for some reason
no-one has really managed to combine good gameplay with lastability, but this
game makes a damn good stab at it. You can play manager only, managing and
playing or just playing, and this certainly does work well. You are in charge
of team selections, buying and selling, but not really much more, however this
still beats most of the games where you can actually take part in the games,
but not the classic Football Manager and other games like it.
The view of the pitch you get is a top-down mode, as if seen from an airship
above the ground, and although it gives an adequate view, you don't get enough
to see the goal until quite late, and it is hard to get into the opposition
penalty box without being tackled. Another quarm I have about it is that you
cannot really score many good goals, you can hardly tell if the ball is off the
ground, and the goals seem to be very hard to score, except the computer seems
to manage it, as I regularly lose 10-0 to the computer! It is a very complete
playing game though, there are corners, throw-ins, but sadly no penalties, or
yellow or red cards, but you can't have everything in 32k! You can also have
two players, and this does make up for it, as at least at first you will be
roughly of the same ability, but it just doesn't do it for me with two players,
none of the thrill of beating your opponent seems to be there.
Graphics are very messy on this game in my opinion, it is played in low
resolution, and the texture of the pitch looks horrible, as do the players
playing on it, they don't have any details at all. The sprites used are also a
bit strange, as you will see if you try to slide tackle someone! Sound is OK,
but the annoying high pitched tone you get when the ball goes out of play just
goes right inside my brain, it really is very annoying!
Overall, not a bad attempt, but it isn't anywhere near the likes of Football
Manager and Match Day, now a combination of those two, that would be a
Third game from the fabulously creative Tony Oakden, after his first two games
Camelot and Quest, the standard was set high, I don't think Superior thought
this game offered enough to be release on its own, as Quest was, but I think it
is the best of his three. Set on a triangular Star Port, you have to rescue
the scientists and the lost medical supplies before getting out of there as
quickly as possible. To make things worse you only have a limited amount of
air, and some sections of the station are closed off by puzzle doors, where you
have to complete the puzzle in order to gain access.
Gameplay in this is what is usually expected of you in this sort of game,
explore the levels, shoot the baddies, and collect objects such as more oxygen,
pass cards, and other more important objects which are used to solve puzzles in
the game. The ship is large, I have made a map of it, and it takes about 25
sheets of A4 paper, so you won't be completing it in a hurry, I've had it for
about 4 years and I still haven't finished it! The station is structured out
well, and gives a feeling that it could actually be a space station, with
different areas such as energy cores, etc. for you to explore - but not without
a radiation suit!! There are also one way anti-grav lifts, which move you up
or down, but only one way, so you have make sure you know where you are going
before you use them! The aliens are usually easy to shoot, but some of the
require more firepower, and as shots are also limited it is best to avoid
The graphics in this game are highly professionally produced, high-res,
colourful, and the colours work well together, it is amazing that Oakden
managed to fit all this into the memory of the Beeb, but he does, and it works
incredibly well! Sound is nicely done, the noises aren't too harsh on the old
ear drums, and the tunes he uses are well thought out and pleasing on the ear!
One of my favourite adventures, it is a really good puzzler, and will keep you
occupied for some time, but if only it had a save game feature....
A great compilation, something for everyone, and it has enough depth to keep
you playing it for quite some time!