Play It Again Sam 2 (Superior/Acornsoft) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User


Play It Again Sam 2
By Superior/Acornsoft
BBC B/B+/Master 128

 
Published in The Micro User 6.04

A superior collection

With the original Play it Again Sam still high in the software charts. Superior has released Sam 2 - four more top class programs at a bargain price.

Galaforce

Galaforce is named after the Federation's elite pilots - how elite they are is debatable because you're the only one left!

It bears a strong resemblance to that BBC Micro classic Zalaga - with swirling clouds of aliens just waiting to be zapped. Zalaga owners should not be deterred by this, as the game is much more varied and the animation is fractionally better.

When assigned such missions I like to know that my ship is capable of tackling anything the enemy can throw at me. The Galaforce fighters certainly lack nothing in the firepower department - just hold down the fire button and watch the volley of electric death soar skywards.

There are 48 separate zones each consisting of six waves of aliens. Zone one is a piece of cake - just close your eyes and blast.

In zone two, the alien-launching motherships are your main concern. By the time you have reached zone four, the aliens are beginning to unleash the heavy brigade - heavily armoured bombers hide behind amoving shields of aggressive fighters.

Galaforce really gets the adrenalin flowing - it's the kind of game you continue playing when you close your eyes in bed at night. It really should carry a government health warning.

Repton 3

The Repton programs are probably some of the longest running and best-loved series of games ever released for the BBC Micro. Play it Again Sam 2 includes Repton 3 - in my opinion, the best of the four programs that have featured our green-skinned hero.

Repton 1 employed a series of individual mazes that had to be completed in sequence, but the graphics were a bit of a letdown. Repton 2 heralded the arrival of Repton as we know him today - big, bold and bright. Unfortunately, it used one huge maze which meant you had to complete the whole game in one session - a mammoth task.

Version number three is an amalgamation of the best features of both, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. The mega-sprites have been retained, but this time you have to battle your way through 24 individual mazes.

The successful completion of one is rewarded with a password - your key to the next maze. This system means that you don't have to wade your way through the lower levels each time you play: Just enter the password and begin on the highest level that you've reached.

In each maze, Repton must collect a number of diamonds, a golden crown, and exterminate the monster population - and all before a timebomb explodes.

In the unlikely event of your solving every maze, Superior has also included a first rate maze-designing utility. Now that's what I call value for money.

Codename Droid

Codename Droid - otherwise known as Stryker's Run Part 2 - bears little resemblance to its predecessor. The pure running, jumping and blasting arcade action of Stryker's Run has been replaced by a more leisurely paced arcade/adventure.

Commander Stryker's new mission involves the location and acquisition of the new state of the art Z11 spaceship. In order to protect it, the Volgans have secreted it deep within the bowels of the planet Volga.

As you descend you must fight your way through four heavily defended zones, each with three sub-levels. An extensive system of elevators gives you access to each level but only if you are carrying a security pass.

The Volgan zones vary greatly in design. The rough-hewn rock caverns of the surface defence soon give way to the stone-built, gargoyle-infested Gothic designs of the ancient shrine.

Zone three is the site of the crew's quarters, so be prepared to fight your way through cafeterias and such like. It goes without saying that every level is crawling with Volgan guards and their fire power and armour rating increase as you descend.

Gameplay wise, Codename: Droid bears many similarities to the Repton series. You will often find, to your cost, that the most innocuous of actions can halt your progress completely - this is one challenge you won't complete overnight.

Crazee Rider

The final game of this Superior foursome is Crazee Rider - a wacky motorcycle race in which anything goes.

Donning your racing leathers you prepare to race around seven international circuits. You must finish in the first six if you want to move on to the next track - I played the game for a full hour before finally qualifying.

I don't know who set up the gearing on your machine, but they certainly made a mess of it.

In a field of 60 riders you are situated about fifth on the starting grid. As the green light shows, you hit the throttle and slowly pick up speed - everybody else is pulling wheelies as they scream up the straight.

Within seconds of starting you are in 60th place. Only when you've really wound up the revs does your baby comes into its own. with a top speed far in excess of any other machine. By making full use of the on-screen circuit map you can go flat out down the straights and throttle back at the last second before the bends appears.

The Crazee aspect of the game refers to the apparently acceptable practice of unseating your opponents - you receive 200 bonus points for each rider that bites the dust. By weaving left and right at the start, your sluggish getaway can work to your advantage, as rider after rider collides with your rear end.

Verdict

Play it Again Sam 2 cannot fail to reach number one in the software charts - for value and quality, nothing comes close!

James Riddell

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