The Micro User1st March 1987
Published in The Micro User 5.01
Those of you who have owned BBC Micros since the early days will no doubt look back with fond memories of such Acornsoft classics as Meteors, Arcadians and Planetoid. The new generation of BBC Micro and Master users can now share these memories with the release ofThe Acornsoft Hits volumes 1 and 2.
Volume 1 comprises Magic Mushrooms. Planetoid, Maze, and Rocket Raid. Magic Mushrooms isa ladders and levels game in which you play Murphy who's out collecting mushrooms. To complete this task you must negotiate escalators, conveyors, sheets of ice and dissolving floors. As ifthis weren't enough you're chased by marauding mutant tomatoes ina race against time. The game also includes aneasy-to-use screen designer.
Planetoid is a faithful reproduction of that arcade classic, Defender. Flying your spaceship at low level over a planet's surface you blast aliens which are kidnapping your compatriots.
Working your way through the levels you encounter greater numbers and different varieties of alien, all becoming progressively faster and meaner.
If you're going to be a Planetoid expert you'll need a keen eye, lightning reflexes, and seven fingers which work together in perfect harmony.
In Maze you have to recover three coloured tags from a huge 3D maze and then drop them into a large box also hidden in the maze, At this point you are given a key that isyour passport to the next level. Killer robots patrol the maze giving the game its edge. You may not be able to see them but their mechanical whirring gets louder as they home in on you. The tension can be incredible.
The final game in Volume 1 is Rocket Raid, another arcade clone. Fly your spaceship deep into an alien cavern, avoiding or zapping enemy missiles, and attacking enemy fuel and ammunition dumps to replenish your stocks.
The cavern is divided into distinct sections, each containing a new and different challenge. The steady flow of high quality software is maintained as we boot up Volume 2, which contains Starship Command, Arcadians, Meteors, and Labyrinth.
Starship Command uses classy high resolution line drawings to depict both your own and the alien spacecraft. Boldly going where no man has gone before you face an endless stream of alien ships just asking to be annihilated.
When things get too hectic you do what any self-respecting starship captain would do - bail out. If Starfleet consider that you scored sufficient points you'll be given another command on a new style starship.
No collection could be complete without my wife's arcade favourite, Arcadians, an excellent version ofthe arcade game Galaxians. In this the follow-up to Space Invaders the alien hordes take to the wing and dive bomb your laser base.
Arcadians is fast, furious, colourful, and ready with big bonus points for the pilot who stands fast and shoots the mothership and her two escorts as they come in for the kill.
Meteors, based on Asteroids down to the last detail, proves that the simplest ideas are often the best. Why should blasting rocks prove tobe so addictive? Maybe it's the way that they float effortlessly through space, or the panic that grips you as you find yourself spinning frantically amid a barrage ofspeeding boulders.
In Labyrinth, the fourth and final game ofvolume 2, you search for magic crystals in a complex maze of adjoining rooms. During your quest you will encounter mouth-watering fruit toreplenish your energy level, and numerous technicolour monsters that must be crushed with your boulder. Top class.
These are the classiest compilations I have seen for the BBC Micro. There is not a single bad program in either volume. They're real collectors' items.