The Micro User1st August 1989
Published in The Micro User 7.06
Cocktail of games
So Sam finally gets to double figures with Zalaga from Aardvark, 3D Dotty by Blue Ribbon, the ubiquitous Repton with his time travels and a brand new game called Qwak.
Zalaga, a typical classic shoot-'em-up, is an early work from the keyboard of the acclaimed Orlando and is something of a cross between Galaxians and Galaforce. You start each level with a blank screen on to which streams of aliens pour at an incredible speed. By positioning yourself correctly you can dispose of quite a few ofthem.
Once on screen they form themselves in a traditional pattern moving back and forth then diving down in groups dropping bombs. Between every second screen there's a challenge where aliens stream on not on collision course and not dropping bombs. You shoot as many of them as possible and get a bonus depending on your success rate.
But 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. The sound is pretty good and the opening tune is typical of Orlando's skill with the BBC Micro sound chip.
Next up is 3D Dotty. I'd never seen it before and was pleasantly surprised. You are presented with a three dimensional layout consisting ofthree floors not unlike a multi-storey car park with the floor missing.
Small white dots fill the entire floor surface and all your little figure - a sort of Pac-Man with legs - has to do is go round and chomp all the dots. However, things are not that simple - are they ever? There are three highly mobile fungi which stream across the floor, contact with which drains your energy.
So you run across the floor surfaces avoiding the fungus - which will chase you - trying to get every dot, some of which are hidden behind pillars. For your defence you only have three blocks that will prevent the fungus following you so 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 Of Repton
The Life Of Repton 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 theobjectives, 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 wellbeing and are best avoided.
You are armed with a zapper so are able to wipe out most 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 acompilation that gets away from the frenetic keyboard bashing of the Firetrack and Galaforce variety get yourself a copy of Sam volume 10. With the exception of Mr. Davis's contribution, good old Sam's done it again.