Play It Again Sam 9 (Superior/Acornsoft) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User

Play It Again Sam 9
By Superior/Acornsoft
BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 7.06

Easy does it

Play It Again Sam 9 could probably be best described as the Superior collection for the more sedentary gamester. Consisting of three arcade adventure games and asnooker simulation, itis hardly the most exhilarating of compilations.


First is Spycat - a tongue-in-cheek tale of espionage and intrigue in the corridors of power. After 50 years of loyal service Spycat hears rumours concerning his forthcoming retirement - due to government cut-backs his comfortable pension is to be slashed. Angered by the thought of this enforced poverty, Spycat decides to take out a little insurance in the form of three top secret research documents.

Your mission is to help Spycat locate the documents, transfer them to microfilm, obtain all the relevant travel papers to go to Greenland, fly there and write his memoirs and probably have them banned by the government.

Despite limiting himself to four colours, the programmer has managed to create a series of cartoon-like characters and backdrops - Spycat is a superb Paddington Bear lookalike with a penchant for exposing himself when ignored for a few minutes.

Steve Davis Snooker

Snooker is a pastime that has yet to be successfully implemented on the game screen and Steve Davis's Snooker is the epitome of all that is wrong with the genre. The balls are far too small to allow for accurate judgement of angles and the micro is unable to keep track of a large number of moving balls and as a result the speed of animation increases and decreases according to the amount of on-screen activity.

Finally the game is played in complete silence and the micro-operated opponent plays the most impossible of shots with uncanny accuracy.

Having reviewed the excellent 3D Pool from Firebird in the July issue of The Micro User I was even more disappointed with this feeble excuse for a snooker simulation. Sam should have left this one in his attic.

The Life Of Repton

Number three involves that mainstay of the Superior stable - Repton. Starring in his autobiography - The Life of Repton - our green-skinned buddy must negotiate 40 testing screens of fiendish action.

Based around the classic Repton 3 program the new collection of screens calls upon the different stages of Repton's life as a source of inspiration. The traumas of infancy form the basis of the first eight. In his search for the missing teddy bears Repton junior is hounded by monster dogs and likely to be crushed by the tumbling Humpty Dumpties.

Many lives will be lost in your first few attempts, due to a lack of familiarity with the new game characters. In order to help you through this transitional period Superior has thoughtfully provided a character comparison chart, using which you can determine which of the new characters corresponds to the eggs, diamonds, boulders and so on... before you do something silly. The subsequent stages of Repton's life story include an ageing reptile.

Repton's strength never was its graphical excellence - the characters are still blocky and the screen scrolling flickers. The game's forte has always been its strategic content: Each virgin screen conceals unknown terrors for the unwary player. You are always aware that a single misplaced boulder can render a screen completely unplayable.

The Life OfRepton is by far the best program in this latest compilation - it even includes the screen designer utility.


Sam's final offering is a classy, colourful and previously unknown arcade adventure called Camelot. Playing without the aid of instructions, I had to guess at the objectives, but they would appear to revolve around King Arthur's search for a series of objects.

This quest is hampered by the imposition of a time limit and the fact that nobody appears to respect a king any more - the castle is overrun with witches, devils and enemy knights.

As King Arthur you have a single life, the duration of which is determined by the state of his energy levels. Physical hazards such as fire, water and banks of vicious-pointed spears place a tremendous strain on your well-being and are best avoided.

You are armed with a zapper so areabletowipe outmost of your enemies - until you run out of zap. The meagre 50 rounds you begin with are soon expended and new supplies are tricky to locate. On the positive side, your rapidly diminishing energy reserves can be replenished by opening one of the treasure chests.

First rate graphics and difficult gameplay make Camelot a suitable challenge for even the most accomplished arcade adventurers.


If you are looking for a compilation that gets away from the frenetic keyboard bashing of the Firetrack and Galaforce variety get yourself a copy of Sam Volume 9. With the exception of Mr. Davis's contribution, good old Sam's done it again.

Jon Revis

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