Electron User

Repton Infinity

Author: Roland Waddilove
Publisher: Superior/Acornsoft
Machine: Acorn Electron

Published in Electron User 6.06

If you thought you'd seen every possible variation of that classic game, Repton, and that the theme had been done to death, hang on to your boots, as Repton Infinity - from Superior, of course - will blow your socks off. This latest incarnation of that loveable green skinned reptile has got to be the best yet.

There are four different games - and I don't mean four sets of screens for Repton 3 - and four utilities to enable you to write your own games. In the first, Repton 3 - Take 2, you amass as many points as possible by collecting crowns and diamonds and disposing of the odd monster or two.

The usual gigantic eggs are scattered about ready to hatch into irksome monsters. Less difficult to shake off are large spirits which float about and can be trapped in cages which then turn them into diamonds. Teleporters abound, but they can whisk you off into dead ends or traps if you're not careful.

Repton 4 is the second game and here your task is to grab banknotes conveniently left lying around piles of jewels. Try to kill the ghouls that hatch out of the eggs, but watch out for the fungus that spreads like wildfire.

Magiblocks are special boulders that can be pushed up, down, left or right and when you get three in a row they turn into diamonds which can be collected for a bonus. Transporters are present as usual, and photocopiers are an additional feature. They can copy almost anything, but only work once.

Repton 4 is similar to Repton 3 with slight variations. The new features add a few puzzles and keep up the interest.

The third game is Robbo, and this departs even further from the traditional Repton gameplay. There are may similarities, but also quite a few differences. You control a small robot, and to test his intelligence, he has been placed in a time-space puzzle vortex.

You have to collect the flashing orbs and solve a number of puzzles, like repairing a computer, lighting a bulb, putting a can into a fridge, mowing some grass and one or two more.

The last game, Trakker, is probably the strangest of the four. You are the driver of a Jaffa - the Jagga Annihilation and Fruit Flinging Associates - and your mission is to dispose of all the hideous Jaggas and other nasties.

You are equipped with a bulldozer (a JCB GT?), sticks of dynamite, detonators and Killafruit. To use the dynamite you guide Kevin, your pal, to the dynamite, then run over a detonator. Jaggas can be squashed with tomatoes, but only from behind. And bananas turn them into tubular spiders - all very strange, but fun.

Once you've mastered these four games you can get to grips with the Repton Infinity game creator itself. Four utilities are involved in the making of a game, the first being Film Strip, a sprite editor. Here you can modify an existing character or start from scratch and design a new one.

Once the characters have been formed you write a Basic-like program using a special editor and compiler. The purpose-designed language is called Reptol and is fairly straight-forward, though like any programming language you'll need to put a fair bit of effort into learning it to get the most from it.

The 71 page manual provides descriptions of all the commands, plus a beginner's tutorial section. The commands include CHANGE to change one character to another, IF ... ELSE ... ENDIF and GOTO are like their Basic counterparts, KEY tests the RETURN key, SCORE increments your score, MOVE moves a character and so on.

Once the program logic has been created it's on to the Landscape Designer. This is where you design the maps that are used to create the landscape through which you move. The utility is quite simple and just involves picking up various characters and plonking them on the map.

Skill is required in designing puzzles and traps, so be prepared for a little head scratching.

The final task to be done is to link all the files created - sprite, landscape and program logic - into one runable program, and this is performed by the fourth utility File Link. This enables you to specify the filenames of the various parts so they can all be loaded in the right sequence.

Repton Infinity is definitely the ultimate in this popular series. Not only are the four games superb - and all different from the standard Repton format - but the game creator is a stroke of genius.

I must admit to being a little bewildered by the number and variety of functions and options, and I have yet to create a full game. It'll take a fair bit of hard work, but not half as hard as writing the whole thing from scratch. Repton Infinity is an absolute must.

* * * Second Opinion (By Janice Murray) * * *

Wow! This is the best yet from Superior. The biggest case, the thickest manual, four great games with two sets of screens each and an amazing program creator that enables you to write your own Repton games in Reptol - a new arcade games writing language. At only £12.95 this has got to be amazing value for money. Well done Superior!

Roland Waddilove

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