Birds Of Prey
When I first saw the cover of the cassette for Birds Of Prey, I thought "Oh no, not another Pseudo-Galaxians Space Invaders blow 'em all to Kingdom come game!" Then I saw the top of the cassette insert - Model A or B. For some reason or other, I have had something against software which works on both the A and B Models of the Beeb. I think that it's because the first game I ever bought (back in the good old days of OS 0.1) was not worth the price of the cassette, and that was for both models.
Still, I put the tape into my cassette recorder, and sat back while I waited for the thing to load. Nothing. The computer went from stern to stern of the tape without even a "Data?". Undeterred, I got a different cassette recorder, and the game went in first time. This just shows how temperamental some recorders are.
First of all, the computer loaded the instructions program, which just reminded you of the instructions that were printed in the cassette insert. It describes the different types of alien in the game, and tells you the number of points scored for each type. The alien line-up consists of the Swoopers, who fly in circles below the main body of aliens, the Kamikaze birds, who dive-bomb you (and if they miss keep trying to hit you) and the death bombs, which, if not shot by the time they reach the bottom of the screen, knock one of your precious lives off. Then, the main program is loaded. If you haven't got a set of joysticks, this is the game to make you buy some, as the choice of keys is horrendous.
You move left and right with A and D respectively, and fire with S, the key between A and D! This is fine if you like to drink coffee whilst you are playing - you can dispense with the straw, but I found that the choice of keys was extremely poor, and there was no facility to change them.
There are ten skill levels in the game, ranging from "easy" to "horrendous". The latter lives us to its name, and the graphics are very fast. The sound is average, and the use of colour is limited by the fact that the program uses mode 5, to enable it to fit into a Model A.
To sum up then, I was proved wrong about Model A software. The game was fast and enjoyable, and the game is one of the few that is improved by the use of joysticks. All in all, I would recommend this game to all thse shoot-'em-up vidiots who want a change.