Electron User1st September 1989
Published in Electron User 6.12
Sam finally reaches double figures with a compilation consisting of Zalaga from Aardvark, 3d Dotty by Blue Ribbon, the ubiquitous Repton with his time travels and a new arcade game called Qwak.
Zalaga, a typical classic shoot-'em-up, is an early work from the keyboard of the acclaimed Orlando and is best described as an update of the old Galaxians arcade game. You start each level with a blank screen on to which aliens pour at incredible speed. By positioning your laser base correctly you can dispose of quite a few of them.
Once on screen they form a traditional space invader pattern, moving back and forth then diving down towards you in groups dropping bombs. Between every second screen there's a challenge where aliens stream on without dropping bombs - you must shoot as many of them as possible. You get a bonus depending on your success rate.
While Zalaga is fast, colourful and furious the good-sized sprites tend to flicker, and although I've made it to level three, you'll need to be a really dedicated keyboard basher to want to play it a lot.
Next up is 3d Dotty. I'd never seen it before and was pleasantly surprised. You are presented with a three dimensional view of three floors of a sort of multi-storey car park with the floor missing. Small white dots fill the narrow pathways and your little figure - a sort of pac-man with legs - has to go round and chomp them.
Three highly mobile fungi stream across the floor, and contact with them drains your energy. So you run across the floor surfaces avoiding the fungus - which chases you - trying to get every dot, some of which are hidden behind pillars. For your defence you have three blocks that will prevent the fungus following you.
The game is fairly simple, the graphics small but adequate, the sound uninspired and irritating but can be turned off. It makes a refreshing change after the stresses of Zalaga.
Repton Thru Time hardly deserves a mention - you get the game, the 40 screens and the editor. Apart from that it's just more Repton 3 fun, but we've seen it all before too many times. Sound and graphics are what you've come to expect from this game.
I'm in two minds about the final offering, a new release called Qwak. By itself it's not worth the price of the compilation so if you've got the other three games you're paying over the odds. Then again, it is very smoothly programmed and has a sense of humour.
You control Qwak, a little duck, in a simple levels game in which you collect all the keys on screen and make your way through a door to the next. You can move left, right and jump plus send out a bubble to dispose of baddies. However, completing a screen peacefully - without bubbling a baddie - earns you a nice bonus.
You also get points for various other objects picked up and collecting seven flowers gives you an extra life. The graphics are detailed and the sprites' movement is quite smooth. Unusually for an Electron game, it is in Mode 2 and the extra colours make it very colourful.
As with the other Sam compilations, its value for money depends on how many of the other re-releases you've got. If you're missing two or three of these games then SAM 10 is recommended.* * * Second Opinion (By Roland Waddilove) * * *
The only new game for me is Qwak, an entertaining and addictive, if old fashioned, levels game. I liked the gameplay and the colourful Mode 2 graphics. The other re-releases were all excellent titles in their day, but I'm now bored with Repton. Let's see something a little different on the next Sam compilation, Superior.