Triple Decker 4 & 5 (Alternative) Review | The Micro User - Everygamegoing

The Micro User


Triple Decker 4 & 5
By Alternative
BBC/Electron

 
Published in The Micro User 6.09

A mixed bag

Not too long ago it was considered to be good value if you could pick up an arcade game for £1.99 - nowadays Alternative Software is churning out three-game compilations at the same price.

Triple Decker 4

A sporting theme is in evidence on Triple Decker volume four, with Cricket, Golf and Fishing as the pastimes on offer.

Howzat represents the next step up from the old fashioned pencil, paper and dice game that was popular when I was a lad - everything is still reliant upon random numbers, but the game is acted out on the screen to add extra interest.

Players' names for the two teams involved may be typed in manually, or you may choose to use the pre-programmed English and Australian teams.

A rapidly drawn aerial view of the pitch and players is displayed for your entertainment - the grass is green and the stick-men are black. These graphics are hardly state of the art, but adequate for the purpose.

From this point onwards life becomes very straightforward. The bowler bowls, the batsman hits out and you are asked whether or not you wish to run, Howzat is avery simple game yet enjoyable.

Game number two of the compilation is Goff, for up to five players. The aim is to complete the nine hole course in the least number of shots, though Idoubt whether many people will have the stamina to complete a single - incredibly boring - round.

Using any of the eight compass directions you guide a white dot along a map of the hole, eventually reaching the large black dot at the far end. All of this excitement was far too much for me, so I loaded up number three - fishing.

You are provided with such vital information as weather conditions and water speed and depth, from which you must make the correct choice of hook, bait and weights. Out on the well-drawn river bank, you decide whether to cast near or far and at what depth.

With your bait in the water you can settle back and wait. Within seconds your float will begin to twitch, hand hovering above the spacebar you poise, ready to strike. The float goes under completely and bang... you're into your first fish. And for the ridiculous sum of 66p you couldn't find a better game.

Triple Decker 5

Volume five comprises two space games and a karate program. Offering number one is titled Starfight and represents shoot-'em-ups at their most basic.

The screen displays the view from your cockpit as you orbit the planet M101/3. A small blip appears and begins to increase in size as it approaches - using four badly chosen keys, you must blast the blip.

An on-screen rangefinder counts down as the alien ship homes in on your position - the further away the target the more points you score if you hit it. When the rangefinder reaches zero you lose your one and only life. Starfight is an uninspiring game made worse by the terrible choice of control keys.

Stable, as you might expect, is a horizontal scrolling zap and blast game. A continuous stream of alien ships and missiles fly smoothly from right to left across the screen - all you have to do is shoot them. Blasting the aliens is quite easy - they fly in perfectly straight lines and don't fire back.

The alien plan is to defeat you through sheer strength of numbers - after a couple of minutes flying time you will find yourself struggling to find a clear path through the alien swarm. Shooting them doesn't help, as this merely converts the alien into a fireball that continues on its original course.

Good use of colour and smooth animation make Skramble a worthy part of this collection.

Game number three brings you back down to earth with a bump... a kick and a nasty looking punch. Karate Warrior is a fine-looking game that has one major failing - it can only be played by two players.

As with all martial arts games, your success is dependant upon your ability to string together awinning combination of kicks and punches. The usual selection of 16 moves has been reduced slightly - to a grand total of four.

The two single-colour warriors perform their ritualised combat with flicker-free ease; it is such a pity that the micro is unable to defend itself. Karate Warrior could have easily been a good game.

In spite of their varied quality you will have to search far and wide to find better products at this price.

Jon Revis