The Superior Collection Volume 2
Having just raked my old Beeb out from the loft, given it a good dusting down and fired up the old work horse, I then began to start reliving the memories of '89, by playing all my old BBC games. This I found much better than using my 'new' 486dx2/66, just two button presses and you're away! Amongst my collection of copies (Shhhhhhh! Don't tell anyone!) and originals (Yes, I do have some!) I have Superior Collection Volume 1, this I like very much, for it's odd, but varied collection of games, 8 in all, which were the first ever games I bought for my Beeb. Well, when I recently became a member of 8BS, I saw that reviewing games was available and further talk with Chris (our humble editor) it became apparent that I could have the opportunity to review the Superior Collection 2, which I instantly went for, but well, we all know the saying about the sequel never being as good as the original, but just look at the Play It Again Sam collections, 16 sequels there, and not one of them is totally bad! Well on receiving this new compilation, I noticed the following details which you may also like to know: Supplier: Superior Software Price: £11.95 (8BS members: £6) Type of game: Various Scenario: Various Size: Various
Don't worry all will be explained later, to be complete, here are the 8 games which come with the collection: Kix, Repton 2, Space Pilot, DeathStar, Overdrive, Battletank, Missile Strike and last but not least, Crazy Painter. I will head the section for each game individually, so here we go with...
This is the second in the series of Repton games (no kidding) and in my opinion it is not the best. It consists of the usual (and always fun) running around after diamonds, killing monsters, avoiding rock falls etc, puzzle come platform style game. However, the format of this game is changed significantly, making the game a lot harder. In Repton 2, the levels are a lot bigger than in the other games, the goal of the game (it's a toughie) is to complete all of these tasks: (a) collect all 4,744 earth sections, (b) collect all 1,634 diamonds, (c) kill all 18 monsters, (d) use all 64 transporters, (e) collect all 42 jigsaw puzzle pieces, and (f) collect the finish character. Completing a single one of these tasks is hard, but all of them? Well, you better have your brain in puzzle mode, because if you don't there will be a lot of restarts, I can assure you!
I actually like this game a lot. I think it provides a great challenge and a change from the other Repton games. The graphics are fairly smooth, but a lot of flicker can be seen, particularly with the monster sprites, but this never really detracts from the game.
The sound is a plinky-plonky tune, pleasing to hear, but a bit repetitive, I like the Repton 1 tune better. Being a 16-year old brought up with the supposed delights of the Sega and Nintendo gaming diets, I think this game has a hell of a lot more going for it than about 70% of games do at the moment. It's definitely one I would recommend to accomplished platformers and puzzlers alike. This is a fairly large six-level game, bearing in mind that the levels are big, so plenty to keep you going. Verdict: Hard to get into, but ultimately satisfying.
This is a bog standard shooter, with a bit of a nice twist. I like this game a lot, it sort of reminds me of defender, but with a bit less manic style gameplay. The main story is that you are controlling a little ship, you have to fly around space, shooting the small planetoids which occasionally float by, when you shoot these you must collect the small star bombs which are emitted.
Your main opponent is the DeathStar, the Workers and the Warriors. The workers and warriors are ships which try to hinder your collection of the star bombs, Warriors shoot at you, generally distracting you from collecting star bombs, whilst Workers try to collect any star bombs which may be flying loose from the planetoids.
Whilst you are busy collecting star bombs, the workers are busy building the DeathStar, this is a big flying construction, when all 20 pieces are in place, it comes after you, contact in it involves certain death, an explosion and a crackling sound from the Beeb. The way to destroy the DeathStar is to release star bombs when it is on screen, eventually it will explode, and you can progress to the next level.
I think this is quite a good system, nice set of tasks to do, but really an excuse for blowing up stuff... nothing wrong there then! The graphics are small sprites, with nice colours, and generally scrolling is good, very smooth and you can work up quite a fast pace on this game, a good adrenaline pumper!
It's a bit repetitive, but then again all shoot-'em-ups are, I would say this is an above average one though. I like the sounds, they are nice and spacey, fairly standard though. There are five levels to play, with a bonus one in between, so if you like shoot-'em-ups, then this is a good game for you. Verdict: Above average shoot-'em-up, with a plot......good!
When I played this game first, having first played death star, I thought - wow, Deathstar in a plane, and in a way I was right. This is almost the exact same game as Death Star, the main sprite is the same, the plot is almost the same, but simpler. You are in a special plane which has accidentally been thrown into the past, your only way to get through the time zones is to shoot down as many of the planes you meet as you can, then finally destroying a boss sort of ship. On each level there are a certain number of planes you must shoot down, these planes vary according to the time zone, in 1916 it's Bi-Planes, 1940 is Spitfires, and progressing through helicopters, jets and finally UFOs. I should say that this is in fact a complete copy of Deathstar and therefore not very original, but I somehow have managed to get attached to it, it's very playable. It's the sort of game where when you die you think, 'just have one more go' and then this of course goes on for hours. The sound is bog standard beeping and crashing noises, and graphics are average, but adequate for the game. Verdict: Game play shines through here, I just can't think what it is that makes me prefer this over Deathstar!
Ok, ok, this isn't really an original game, more like an arcade conversion, however I think this is a highly polished version of Missile Command, ok, so Missile Command is hardly a contender for complex/ game of the year, but it has all the good elements of a classic, the great and original gameplay, the fairly weedy graphics, showing once again that graphics maketh not a good game. The plot, in case you don't know, is that you're a sort of army base being bombed by the enemy, you must launch missiles at your opponent's missiles, to try and blow them up before they hit the installations, and eventually kill you.
This is quite hard at times, keyboard is not the best method for playing this game, joystick, or preferably mouse would help, but I suppose you just have to get used to it. Sometimes with about 8 or 9 opponent missiles raining down on you, you do find it a bit difficult to cope with, but it's fun all the same! Later on in the game (it is virtually infinite levels, like space invaders) you do get things like homing missiles to cope with, adding some variation, this is a real skill game, especially for your co-ordination! I do like the sound though, it has a nice whoosh sound for launching missiles, very realistic! Verdict: A great clone of the arcade machine, but joystick support would be preferable.
Well Superior, you've got the combo right so far, up until now, that is. This has to be the worst game on the compilation, I just do not like it. It is a nice try at a 3d sort of environment, you drive a tank, move around, and shoot other enemy tanks, well you're supposed to. The keyboard response on this game stinks, the tank moves like a pig, and before you can turn enough to get the enemy in your sights, he blows you up! The graphics are fairly low resolution, and all wire frame, but very uncomplex. I don't really want to say too much about this game, because I don't want it to seem like I'm moaning, but I never played it for very long and I don't suppose I ever will. Sound is limited to say the least, graphics are poor and speed is sloooooooooowwwwwwwww. Verdict: Limited game, limited movement, limited everything. Score: 40% (and that's pushing it) after that one, let's have one to cheer us up.
Racing games have always been few and far between on the Beeb, on the serious side you have the classic Revs, and on the lighter side of things there's Stock Car from Program Power, and after that I can't think of any more. Well now there are three good racers because this is a fun little game, with a 3d look, and some nice graphical touches. The objective is simple, pass as many cars as you can, enough to send the counter into the blue section, doing this will allow you to progress to the next stage in the Driving Championship which consists of five stages, including night, snow, desert and riverside. These stages have few differences, but enough to make you think they are individual. Night has the effect of you not being able to see other cars until it's almost too late, snow makes you slide, and I never reached riverside, so I can't say. The impressive thing about this game is the speed, you get a really good sensation of speed, and if you have a great co-ordination, or want a bit of high speed racing, just pump it up to full speed and watch yourself plough into the first car you meet! Luckily you don't have lives, just a timer, so you can crash as many times as you like, but it does slow you down. The sound is quite good on this game, with crashes and a nice engine sound, which sounds a bit funny at top speed, but makes you laugh! The car has a nice movement, good graphics, and a great sense of speed, play it, go on! Verdict: It's not realistic, but who needs realism when you have fun! Play, play, play!
This is another arcade conversion, and a damn fine one at that! This is based on the age-old game, who's name I do not know, the object is simple, try to capture as much of the screen as you can, by fencing off parts of it with your laser cutting device. To stop you from doing this, Tracers chase you around the quadrant (the name of the playing arena) and, if they touch you, then you die! There is also a big swirly thing which moves randomly around inside the quadrant, and if it touches part of a line which you are drawing, or your ship, then you will die instantly. You can gain extra points by cutting the pieces at slow speed, thus allowing more time for the sparkler to reach you, or at a fast speed with less points.
To take control of a quadrant, you have to capture 75% of the area. The graphics in this game are fairly primitive, but well drawn and have no flicker, using a high-resolution colour mode for the graphics. I like the sound as it has some nice music, very well written in fact, which shows off the Beeb's good 4 channel sound. This game is very addictive, and you always just want one more go, I'm pretty useless at this game though, it is a very strategical one, you have to get the tactics just right to reach the higher scores, there are many bonuses, on some screens for instance, there are two sparklers, and you can gain a bonus for splitting them into two separate areas of the screen, a neat touch. The instructions tell you a bit about the tactics, which I think is a good idea, and some advice on what not to do. This is really the 'feature' game of this compilation, the one that Superior does not release previously, and is claimed to be worth £7.95 (when the compilation first came out) in its own right, which I feel is perfectly justified. This is the game which makes the compilation complete, a great addition and worth all of the suggested price tag, although I did feel capturing 75% of the screen was a bit much! Verdict: The creme caramel of the compilation, very slick and a good mixture of gameplay, sound and tactics.
This is a very odd game. It sounds like it could be Japanese but, no, it was made right here in England, and, for an English game, it is very weird! It has simple instructions and they go like this: To win the game, you must paint round all of the squares whilst avoiding the tribesmen and teddy bears. If you paint the four corner squares, then you can chase the tribesmen and teddy bears, for a limited time. Sound a bit weird? Well, yes, it is. I think it's a sort of cross between Kix (see above) and Pacman, it has a simple but fun aim. I thought this game was a bit average though, and if it were bought on its own, then I would probably say it was not really worth the money, but as part of a compilation, it is really just a filler for when you get bored of the others, or maybe to have a break! I'm not saying this is a bad game, it is just an extremely average style puzzle game. The graphics are not inspiring, and sound is minimal, but somehow it manages to be enjoyable at the very least. Verdict: Average, but you can have fun playing it.
Well, that's that over with. All in all, I think it is a very pleasing collection of games (barring Battletank that is) and you can have a lot of fun with this collection, in particular Repton 2 and Kix. I think the most instantly playable ones are Space Pilot, and Overdrive, but the longest lasting would have to be the two 'main' games.
I would definitely say this is great value for money, where else can you get eight games for £6? What makes this great is that most of those games could fully justify a price of £3 or £4 on their own! Buy this now if you're looking for a mixture of nice little games. Overall, shows Superior doing what it does best.