Commodore User


The Price Is Wrong

Author: Ferdy Hamilton
Publisher: Macsen
Machine: Commodore 64

 
Published in Commodore User #35

G-Force member Ferdy Hamilton checks out the TV quiz game conversions and tells you if they are really worth their tenner price tag.

Blockbusters

Central television's successful quiz show was one of the first of the Macsen quiz games. For those of you who have never watched it the gameplay goes something like this. The game board is a 4 x 4 matrix of hexagons. Each hexagon has its own letter on it. Each contestant must choose a hexagon and answer the corresponding question, the answer will obviously start with the letter on the hexagon.

The aim of the game is to get from one side of the board to the other, connecting the hexagons by answering the questions.

It is set out on the computer with each player using a letter as their "buzzer" which can be a real pain because when two players press their letters simultaneously one will appear on the answer and deleting is far from easy!

One of the better features of the game is the 'load new questions' facility, which is desperately needed as the questions are either aimed at three year olds or I'm the next Einstein.

The game is played on a time limit. The higher the level, the shorter the time. Sadly, because the TV game lacks the grossness or tabloid hype of its competitors, Blockbusters is awful. The best thing about the game is the little ditty of the Blockbusters theme tune you are treated to before the game. The programmers obviously need a lesson in de-bugging. A budget line £1.99 would have been a much more serious price tag.

There is also a Blockbusters Question Master available. A wise idea for those of you unfortunate enough to own the original.

Blockbusters Gold Run

How greedy can you get? Macsen have the nerve to charge the public another tenner for what should have been included in the original Blockbusters game!

Blockbusters Gold Run is the bonus part of the show where the contestants go for big prizes. No big prizes here though, just one big loss - your tenner!

The game is much the same as the original Blockbusters but each square has two or three letters on it, with an answer the same number of words long.

Gold Run is much the same as the original but Macsen obviously noted the easiness of the questions and altered that. They have also put in a delete facility (about time too!). All the same it still gets the thumbs down.

Treasure Hunt

Now what you've all been waiting for, the chance to travel in the back of a helicopter with Anneka Rice!

Treasure Hunt is Channel Four's over-the-top gameshow in which two contestants order Anneka Rice around the British Isles in a helicopter to find clues and eventually the treasure.

The game follows the show closely with everything but the out-of-breath Anneka Rice making an utter fool of herself. You must tell the helicopter where to fly in search of the next clue. There are ten clues to find and you are given the first one at the start. When you are given a clue you should refer to the guide book you are given to find out what it means, then it's onto the map screen to tell your pilot (Anneka, of course!) where to go.

Then it's off in search of the clue. But it's no pushover - the clues are virtually impossible to find. You also have to compete against a 45-minute time limit. When you have completed the first treasure hunt, you may have a go at the next one which is set in a different part of England, and even people as hopeless as me are allowed to have a go at them.

If you like this game and manage to complete it all, there are other versions available with new treasure hunts on them.

Treasure Hunt is far superior to the rest of the games here and is also presented extremely well with good instructions and a guide book to help you.

When I played this, I had to stop and double-check it really was by Macsen, it's a must for fans of the show and perhaps it might appeal to the odd adventure fan in search of a new angle.

Play Your Cards Right

I hate this programme. I hate Bruce Forsyth. I hate this game. Three points that have to be made before I go any further.

For the people who are lucky enough to have never watched the show I will explain the rules. Nothing too complex here, you just have to predict whether the next card will be higher or lower than the one behind. Nothing for a pair, though. [Not in this game! - Ed]

You may choose to play against the computer or a friend (if you can find anyone who will play this!). The Winner is the first one to successfully predict six cards.

He will then go on to the bonus section in which he must predict some more cards and also bet on them. He starts with five hundred points and must try to reach two thousand. This is the only one of the games Macsen did not produce and Britannia software seem to have done no better. Although there is nothing seriously wrong with this game I just knew it wouldn't work on the computer. Bad luck, Brucie.

Countdown

Countdown returns us to the normal quality of the Macsen range. Awful. This is taken from another "successful" Channel Four show that's less extravagant than Treasure Hunt.

Countdown is a word game consisting of nine rounds. In round one, the player chooses nine letters, vowels or consonants, the computer picks them at random and the players have thirty seconds to make the longest they can out of them. All this is OK until the end of the round when you enter your word, if the computer has not got it in its dictionary it will then ask you "Is this a valid word?" and you respond by either pressing Y or N, meaning you enter just Y and, hey presto, you've won the round. Rounds two and three are the same as the first.

Round four is the numbers round. You must pick some numbers and the computer comes up with a total that you must reach by adding, subtracting, dividing or multiplying the numbers chosen.

Again all is well until the time is up then it's up to you to try and tell the computer how you managed to reach your total. Seeing as there isn't a multiplication or division key on the Commodore and the game doesn't supply one, this is difficult. Poor old Macsen obviously haven't quite mastered the programming techniques.

After you have finished this depressing puzzle you are treated to a repeat of the last four rounds.

But don't fret, the ninth and final round is different - it's... it's... it's the Countdown conundrum.

Can you unscramble a nine letter anagram before the thirty second clock runs out? Be careful, if you press too easly and get it wrong your friend is treated to the rest of the thirty seconds.

Countdown is awful, you'd have a lot more fun (and money) if you just played on pen and paper. Don't take it even if it's offered to you for free.

Bullseye

At last I reach the classic, Bully! Possibly the best of the worst, bar The Price Is Right. It's compered by the brilliant Jim Bowen. "Oh, you're unemployed Bill. Smashing, lovely."

Bullseye like Countdown is set out in a number of rounds. Round one, and it's Ferdy up to the 'ockey. A special dartboard with ten sections is used for this round. Each second has its own subject which you choose to be quizzed on.

The player first chooses a subject and then tries to hit it, this is done by first aiming left or right, and then choosing how much strength to put on the shot.

If the player hits his/her chosen subject, they will then be awarded a bonus, this is higher the closer the dart came to the bullseye.

You will then be asked a question on the subject you hit and will be awarded points for a correct answer. However, should you answer incorrectly the question will be handed over to your opponent.

The second round is more straightforward than the first, both players must throw three darts at a normal dartboard, the one with the highest score will then be awarded a general knowledge question. Get it right and the points are yours. Wrong and your opponent's in with a chance. This is also repeated three times.

Round three is where the lucky contestants shoot for prizes. On your Commodore though, it's only points.

Ferdy Hamilton

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