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
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.
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
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.