I was beginning to get worried; after all, it seemed as if a couple of weeks had passed without a release from Tynesoft. What could be happening up there?
The answer was a pleasant one. After an initial spectacular burst onto the Beeb software scene, Tynesoft are now taking time to consolidate their position and that obviously includes building development time into their cash projections. Later in the year we should see some spectacular games - the fruit of extensive licence-hunting in the States - but for now we have Dave Croft's latest game, originally called Ghosthunter.
And that early title gives the game away rather. This is not the obligatory software house version of The Gauntlet (although there is the same sort of feel to the game) but rather closer in spirit (sorry!) to Ghostbusters.
The opening screen shows your car (from overhead) drawing up at the front door of a house; accept the challenge and you, the astro-physicist with an interest in the paranormal, must pass through room after room and descend through level after level. This you achieve by zapping the phantoms (bonus if you clear a screen of them), picking up a key and moving on through a transporter.
The animation is lively with the ghosts appearing to swing along the corridors, their little arms reminding me of the Micronet classic Harvey Headbanger. Shades perhaps of Ravenskull in the detailing of the central character but the game is deceptively simple - your reactor power soon runs out and recharges are infrequent.
Judge your timing, zap when you have to and skip through the rooms and onward. That is perhaps where the game suffers a little - although room layouts are different, nothing much else is. Each screen follows much the same pattern, although the octopoid demon near the start promises great things for later, deeper levels.
Although there are similarities to other games, there is much here that is fresh and original. The game plays well, the screen is well designed and it has a good compulsive quality and pleasant graphics.
Not an earth-shattering game but this will while away many a happy hour. It also augurs well for the future of Tynesoft, who have made great advances in quality since I wrote my first Arcade column last autumn.