Play It Again Sam 14 (Superior/Acornsoft) Review | - Everygamegoing

Too Big Issue


Play It Again Sam 14
By Superior/Acornsoft
BBC/Electron

Predator

This is one of the few movie licenses ever released on the Beeb, in the 80's they weren't really popular (thank god) but nowadays they are two-a-penny and most of them are dire. Well, this one isn't really that bad, thanks to a) It is taken from a good film b) It has been converted to the Beeb by Superior Software, and thus is well programmed. Taken from the Arnie movie of the same name, this is a scrolling shoot-‘em-up where you have to be quick to avoid other army personnel trying to attack you, and from time to time, the deadly sights of the predator himself!

The gameplay, not surprisingly is pretty simple, move through the jungle whilst avoiding such enemies as Soldiers and even birds, who on contact kill you instantly! It must be said having Arnie killed whilst fighting off a ferocious pack of Pigeons isn't quite the way it goes in the film, but there you go. Anyway, along the way you can swap weapons, you have to reload from time to time anyway, but fortunately plenty of soldiers have been killed by the Predator and they leave their guns lying around. It is quite a good play, but it does suffer from being a little bit too hard in my opinion, there are just too many things to shoot at once, but it does make for some action packed gaming! Collision detection and other aspects of the programming are virtually flawless as one would expect from Superior.

The graphics are average, they aren't going to set the world on fire or anything but they do their job, if a bit blandly. The colours chosen are OK, but a bit boring, mostly just orange, black, yellow and green, they go together OK, but don't always look too good! The sound is just pings and pongs, no music even on the high score table.

Not a bad game overall, and worth a few plays.

Ballistix

It has to be said, I do like this game a lot, it is very inventive and fun to play, and has the originality that many titles sadly lack. The main object of the game is to score goals against your opponent, be it a computer or another human. You move the main ball with the aid of pointer, which you use to fire smaller balls at the main ball, to get it to move up/down the screen, on the first level this is easy, you just shoot the balls in the direction of the goal and hopefully the ball goes in, but on later levels you are introduced to blocking walls, holes, and other such traps which hinder you, but definitely give an advantage to the computer player! There are about 20 levels in all, each with passwords, and you are supposedly able to use them to jump to the latest level you have got to, but I have never managed to find out how to do this!

The graphics in this game it must be said are a bit over the top, the colours used sometimes look horrible together, in particular Cyan and Red, although this hardly detracts from the excitement of a two-player game, they can be come particularly manic and not one for people who like to keep their keyboards in pristine condition, as the shoot key and be frantically pressed time and again in order to fire more pellets at the big ball than your opponent! Sound is actually quite good, with crowd roars when you score, and various other noises for the ball hitting different things.

This game is a great game, not quite a classic, but getting there, and like all great games you can play two players at once - excellent! This compilation is worth it for this game alone, and although it is not really supposed to be the best on the disk, I think it well beats the other three games.

Superior Soccer

There are not really many decent football games on the Beeb, Match Day is probably the best, followed by the game from the 4th Dimension, for some reason no-one has really managed to combine good gameplay with lastability, but this game makes a damn good stab at it. You can play manager only, managing and playing or just playing, and this certainly does work well. You are in charge of team selections, buying and selling, but not really much more, however this still beats most of the games where you can actually take part in the games, but not the classic Football Manager and other games like it.

The view of the pitch you get is a top-down mode, as if seen from an airship above the ground, and although it gives an adequate view, you don't get enough to see the goal until quite late, and it is hard to get into the opposition penalty box without being tackled. Another qualm I have about it is that you cannot really score many good goals, you can hardly tell if the ball is off the ground, and the goals seem to be very hard to score, except the computer seems to manage it, as I regularly lose 10-0 to the computer! It is a very complete playing game though, there are corners, throw-ins, but sadly no penalties, or yellow or red cards, but you can't have everything in 32k! You can also have two players, and this does make up for it, as at least at first you will be roughly of the same ability, but it just doesn't do it for me with two players, none of the thrill of beating your opponent seems to be there.

Graphics are very messy on this game in my opinion, it is played in low resolution, and the texture of the pitch looks horrible, as do the players playing on it, they don't have any details at all. The sprites used are also a bit strange, as you will see if you try to slide tackle someone! Sound is OK, but the annoying high pitched tone you get when the ball goes out of play just goes right inside my brain, it really is very annoying!

Overall, not a bad attempt, but it isn't anywhere near the likes of Football Manager and Match Day, now a combination of those two, that would be a winner....

Star Port

Third game from the fabulously creative Tony Oakden, after his first two games Camelot and Quest, the standard was set high, I don't think Superior thought this game offered enough to be release on its own, as Quest was, but I think it is the best of his three. Set on a triangular Star Port, you have to rescue the scientists and the lost medical supplies before getting out of there as quickly as possible. To make things worse you only have a limited amount of air, and some sections of the station are closed off by puzzle doors, where you have to complete the puzzle in order to gain access.

Gameplay in this is what is usually expected of you in this sort of game, explore the levels, shoot the baddies, and collect objects such as more oxygen, pass cards, and other more important objects which are used to solve puzzles in the game. The ship is large, I have made a map of it, and it takes about 25 sheets of A4 paper, so you won't be completing it in a hurry, I've had it for about 4 years and I still haven't finished it! The station is structured out well, and gives a feeling that it could actually be a space station, with different areas such as energy cores, etc. for you to explore - but not without a radiation suit!! There are also one way anti-grav lifts, which move you up or down, but only one way, so you have make sure you know where you are going before you use them! The aliens are usually easy to shoot, but some of the require more firepower, and as shots are also limited it is best to avoid these.

The graphics in this game are highly professionally produced, high-res, colourful, and the colours work well together, it is amazing that Oakden managed to fit all this into the memory of the Beeb, but he does, and it works incredibly well! Sound is nicely done, the noises aren't too harsh on the old ear drums, and the tunes he uses are well thought out and pleasing on the ear!

One of my favourite adventures, it is a really good puzzler, and will keep you occupied for some time, but if only it had a save game feature....

Summary

A great compilation, something for everyone, and it has enough depth to keep you playing it for quite some time!

Russell Wills

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