Winter Olympiad '88 was a big hit when it was released last
year by Tynesoft. A maximum of four players can play - or the
micro can take the part of up to three - in a struggle to win as
many medals as possible. In all of the simulations you can
take part in three heats, your best result being compared
against those of the other three competitors.
In all but two events - Bob Sled and Ski Jump - you can
abort the second and/or third heats. After each event is
completed the medals are awarded and a medals table is
displayed before you go on.
The graphics in all six events are excellent: They move
smoothly and are usually accompanied by simple, but good
quality sound effects. Between events, you are treated to a
fairly pleasant version of the theme music to the BBC
Television programme Ski Sunday.
In Bob Sled you have to drive a two-man bob down a twisting
course. The time you take on each run is determined by your
skill and judgement in negotiating corners. The faster you
are moving on the bends, the further up the side of the run
your sled is forced and, if you don't use your brakes enough,
you fall out. If you go to the other extreme and use the brakes
too much, your time will be slow. A bird's eye view of the
course showing your position, is displayed in a window on the
Next comes Speed Slating where you simply have to provide
the energy to drive your skater once around a large rink. You
do so by hitting two keys alternately to make the skater pick
up speed. Unlike other key-hitting exercises it is timing that
counts, not speed. If you have a good sense of rhythm you'll
win this one easily.
Ski Jump brings out the Eddie the Eagle in you. The event
starts off with a rear view of your man waiting at the top of
the hill. Once the tone indicates it is time to start your jump,
hit Z and X alternately to get up a good speed.
Once you have got going a side-on view of the jump is
displayed and you must continue to hammer the keys to
increase speed. Finally, you are given a close-up view of your
jumper as he travels through the air. Use C and F to keep his
skis aligned. If you do well you're rewarded with his perfect
landing; otherwise it's an ignominious rear-ender.
The Giant Slalom gives a diagonal view of a skier moving
downhill and the Z and X keys are used to make him weave in
and out of suspended poles. It's not too taxing but I've never
managed a clear descent.
For me, Ski Slalom is one of the better events. You are given
a view from behind the skier and as he descends you have to
guide him between pairs of poles. Sounds easy? Well, some
of them are off the screen and a little arrow shows which way
you have to go.
But the best is last. Biathlon is a fascinating sport involving
long distance skiing interspersed with rifle marksmanship.
Moving the skier between target ranges involves rhythmic
key pounding - if you get out of synchronisation you lose
The shooting is simple, the cassette interface relay clicks
to indicate the rifle being cocked - a neat trick - then across
descends from the top of the target down through its middle.
You hit the spacebar at the right moment to score a bull.
Failing to hit the target centrally results in a time penalty and
there are five to hit in each group. Lots of tension.
The second full game in Sam 8 is Quest, an arcade adventure
in the footsteps of Palace of Magic. Sad to say all I can
report about this is that I've never been able to get anywhere!
In theory you guide the hero, Walter Cobra, around looking
for twelve power crystals and the Golden Dragon. Your major
advantage is the jet boots that work in rooms containing
Other complications involve force fields and their power
plants which need to be de-activated with stun grenades and
computer terminals which have messages that can only be
accessed if you have the password. Try it if you like tough
Around The World In 40 Screens
If you don't know who Repton is by now, where have you
been? In Around the World in 40 Screens you have to guide our
little green friend around scenarios based on Africa, Arctic,
America, the Orient and the Oceans.
Having paddled around these screens a little in the past I
know they're competently designed and quite fun. The
Oceans in particular has been put together by someone with
atwisted mind - the safe sprites are invisible. You've got the
usual tune of course, and the standard quality of graphics.
The Superior game Mr. Wiz dates back to 1984 The
scenario is simple, if a little bizarre: You must guide Mr. Wiz
around the screen to eat up cherries. On the first level, there
are three nasties which appear from a mushroom and give
chase. In general, the baddies won't move through the earth
which defines the paths they will follow - but if they get
annoyed they will.
Annoying them seems easy to do - just eat the cherries or
worse yet their mushroom. You're not entirely defenceless
because you do have a crystal ball to throw at them. It's a
pleasant, smoothly programmed little game and, while the
poor relation, it doesn't compare badly with the others.
Sam 8 is a reasonable collection, although I've had
enough of Repton. As usual ifyou lack one ofthe games it's a
good buy - if you're missing two or more it's abargain.