Living Guide to Spectrum Software


Maze games come in all shapes and sizes (this section excludes Pacman style games however). Some of those included here might not even seem to fit the category, but on reflection you will see that in fact they are really maze games (at least, you might if you try hard).

Producer: Sunshine Books, 48K £5.95
Androids boasts a vast maze populated with homicidal robots and is Sunshine’s version of ‘Frenzy/Panic’. Armed with a laser (fires in the direction you’re pointing) and five lives, you must find the hidden exit to the next level. Special panels replenish your force field and laser power. It’s a ‘no win’ game for points. The graphics are good, nice animation and machine code makes for high speed movement. Good value for money and very playable.

Producer: Vortex, 16K £4.95
What we have here is a well thought out and addictive rage of the robots ‘Frenzy/Berserk’ game with five skill levels and copious screens. Android 1 is a superior robot and he has to blast his way through the walls of the complex towards, what? (A reactor actually, but who cares, it’s the getting there that’s fun). His enemies are several types of unattractive mutants (attractive graphics) including Groupies (in groups), Wanderers (luny lonies), Skaters (slithering around and hard to hit) and Bouncers who land on your head when you’re least expecting it. Joystick: Kempston. Recommended.

Producer: Vortex, 48K £5.95 (2)
Author: Costa Panayi
A sequel to the successful Android 1, this is a vastly improved game in both looks and playability and was one of issue 2’s Games of the Month. Android 2 is a superior robot equipped with a head mounted laser. He must walk the maze of death, survive the paradoz zone and overcome the dangers of the flatlands. In so doing he must stop the advance of the Millitoids, long entipeded creatures. Other hazards include land mines (loads of them), Hoverdroids and indestructible Bouncers. The playing area is vast, the maze alone is bigger than in most other comparable games, and everything is seen in a solid 3D perspective from above. Every detail of this game has been polished — the graphics are excellent, colourful and well animated, the sound is also good, it has beautiful instructions, is difficult to play and addictive. Good control keys, joystick: Kempston. Excellent value for money and highly recommended. Overall CRASH rating 90% M/C.

Producer: MC Lothlorien, 16K £5.95 (1)
A very fast shoot em up game in which the maze is not a central problem, but the infestation of beautifully animated creatures are. It’s supposed to be an asylum planet and you’re the only sane inmate (so you think)! Equipped with your twin-firing photon bolt, it’s quite a task to keep the ravening monsters at bay. They move faster and faster as they dash at you and there are also ‘saucerous guards’ nipping about, firing at your. The one drawback, perhaps, is that the creatures take a very predictable path towards you, but it’s still all extremely fast. Could have had more variation to heighten addictivity. User-defined control keys, so AGF or Protek joysticks are usable, pretty good value for money and an overall CRASH rating of 78% M/C.

Producer: Silversoft, 16K £5. 95(1)
Author: I Morrison & O Anderson
You’re in charge of a tank deep inside a bored and dangerous computer which sees your presence as a bit of fun to enliven its dreary life of computing. Hot on your tail are Electron Panzers, Marauders, Centurions and Rogue Programs, each smarter than the last. The object, quite simply, is to hit one of these and promote to the next level. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s a measure of how fast the game can be that even with only one hit to concentrate on it remains a very difficult zap game to play. Only one blast at a time but the laser beam ricochets (beautifully). A complex array of control keys allow for 4-directional movement and turret rotation. Neat, smooth graphics, good sound, joystick: Kempston, AGF or Protek. 3 control key options, 3 skill levels, multiple screens, pretty addictive one you get the hang. Overall CRASH rating 69% M/C.

Producer: Arcade, 48K £5.50 (2)
Author: Bruce Rutherford
The mazes are quite simple but there are 50 of them. You must guide your burglar around each maze stealing the odd valuables dotted around, whilst avoiding the lovable attentions of giant bubbles which follow close on your heels. You may select any maze to commence the game, no one is really any harder than another but there are 3 skill levels which increase the number of bubbles, but also slow down the game. The hero, Basil, is a hat on legs and nicely animated and the maze graphics are varied and imaginative, but there was a feeling that the game lacked the vital quality that made it addictive. Rated above average. Overall CRASH rating 63% — cursor keys, joystick: AGF, Protek or Kempston, M/C.

Producer: New Generation, 48K £5.95 (1)
A 3D Maze game which demands ‘Master Code’ skills and numeric sequence recognition from the player. Deceptive in that it seems very ordinary at first but rapidly becomes unstoppable. Basically you must thread your way through the concentric circular maze to find the central control room for the evil computer of Genon and destroy it. Doors cut the corridors into segments and connect between adjacent corridors. These are opened and shut by the computer and you can open them by punching in the correct code (each set of doors has its own numeric sequence). With your ESP at high level the screen displays the next door’s code, but there’s a nasty monster called Bogul chasing you. Each time he bogulises you, your ESP goes down and more doors have blanks which you must work out before the door opens or shuts for you. The ingenious touch lies in the excellent sound track of Bogul’s thudding footsteps as he chases up behind you — turn around and you’ll see him. Neat, solid graphics and unusually playable. Cursor keys for movement in conjunction with 9 keys (used with an overlay) for code breaking. Joystick: Kempston, AGF or Protek. Overall CRASH rating 72%, excellent value for money if you enjoy a bit of figuring, M/C.

Producer: A&F, 16K £5.75
A simple maze made up from crosses is only just big enough to let your waggling balloon through in places. Elsewhere you must use precision and timing to squeeze through without touching the sides. Extra points for using the narrowest passages. Perhaps too simplistic for most, but still not as easy as it first looks. There is a time limit.

Producer: Star Dreams, 16K £5.95 (1)
Here the maze actually represents the streets and buildings of a city. You’re in command of a tank, surrounded by the cybertanks which you must shoot out of existence before they get you. You can blast your way through the maze walls to get at your enemy. If you clear the first screen the second sheet has mines littered around which destroy anything that touches them. All in all it becomes very repetitive and our reviewers thought it reasonable but only average fun to play. The graphics are quite small, although nicely designed and move smoothly enough — the title card is brilliant. Two sets of control keys, well placed, joystick: Kempston. Overall CRASH rating 58% M/C.

Producer: Blaby, 48K £5.50
Not at first sight a maze game, but this is one where you make your own maze for protection from the dreaded Snow Bees which infest the Arctic ice wastes where you, the last living Do Do, find yourself stranded (beat that for a scenario!) The first Spectrum version of ‘Pengy’, it has charming graphics and good sound. Basically you must shunt the ice blocks around to escape the bees or crush them. If you’re clever you can electrocute them against the walls. Joystick: Kempston. Recommended.

Producer: ICL/Sinclair, 16K £4.95
As the nation’s top secret agent your mission is to acquire top secret codes from the code room of a foreign embassy. Actually all you have to do in this dreary game is wend your way through a 3D maze, up and down stairs and find the room, then get out, all timed against the clock. No thrills no spills and very few frills. Each move means waiting interminably for the corridors to slowly build up. Nine levels with the simplest taking seconds.

Producer: New Generation, 16K £4.95
Perhaps the most beautiful looking game yet for the Spectrum. Escape pits you against a 3D maze seen from slightly above so the horizontal pathways are obscured by the hedges. Somewhere in there is the key to the exit. As you enter a monster shoots in and homes in on you inexorably. Get the key and he speeds up. Get out and you’re back with a maze and two monsters. Five levels and a ‘no win’ situation. It’s depressing! One of the most panicky games we’ve seen. Joystick: Kempsoft II. Recommended.

Producer: Rabbit, 16K 5.99
The Z80 processor bites back. Yes your Spectrum has gone berserk and you have been de-atomised. You must escape through nine levels while the MCP homes in on you and tries to destroy you. Escape-MCP features a series of simple but (as becomes clear when you play) fiendishly laid out mazes, representing the logic paths of the processor. You start top left and must first reach a key and then an exit to the next level. Slowly and inexorably the MCP sight homes in on you and the trick is to move along the paths in such a way that you leave yourself enough time to make the key and exit. Not at all easy. Cursor keys and user-defined, so almost any joystick can be used. An addictively infuriating game and excellent value.

Producer: Abbex, 16/48K £5.95
In 48K ETX speaks, though mostly what he says after the loquacious intro is ‘Ouch!’ ET is stranded on Earth searching for odd bits with which to construct a phone home. The bits are hidden in numerous wells. He’s pursued by a mad professor and a nasty from MI5 (or 6 or something). Only ‘young’ Ernie is nice. The game is charming to look at but a little puzzling to play since it seems impossible to escape the wretched professor. Program contained on both sides of the cassette. Joystick: Kempston.

Producer: Silversoft, 48K £5.95 (2)
This is another version of ‘Pengy’, the object of which is to walk your penguin round the ice flows avoiding the nasty Snow Bees. You can burn away the square ice blocks or sand them flying in the hope of crushing a snow bee to death. This version features illumination of ice blocks from which snow bees will hatch for a flash (which gives you the chance to destroy a snow bee before it gets dangerous), and the fence which may be electrified when the penguin touches it, stunning any snow bee in contact with it. The graphics are nice, quite large, responsive and fast, but not over-colourful, and the sound is good too. The main drawback is that the game is very hard to play well and the snow bees are difficult to shake off, a fact which lowers the game’s playability quickly. Good control keys, joystick: Kempston. 10 skill levels (speeds), reasonable value. Overall CRASH rating 61% M/C.

Producer: Quicksilva, 16K £4.95
Almost every software house has its version of the arcade favourite, ‘Berserk’, which pits you against evil robots in a complex of simple mazes, representing the different rooms of some alien HQ. Life in these places must be hell because all the walls are electrified, killing you and the poor old robots. Quicksilva’s version is very good of its type, with simple but smooth graphics. You lose a life if you collide with wall, robot or exploding missile. Avoiding the missiles can be done by leaping through an exit into another room, but as you do hordes more robots appear. The keyboard positions are rather odd, direction and fire being controlled by keys 6-0 which makes it difficult to use a joystick. Moderately addictive but not bad for the price.

Producer: Arcade, 48K £5.50
Arcade seem to specialise in obscure titles. Lattica is a complex maze with over 100 locations and three levels populated with androids. The walls are electrified so you must avoid them or lose one of your four lives. The aim is to discover the location of a bomb which will destroy the entire planet when it explodes, and defuse it, murdering the androids on your way. The graphics are very good and richly coloured (you’re a sort of ‘Horace’-like creature). Joystick: Kempston/AGF or Protek and cursor keys. Eight directional movement. Good value.

Producer: Lotus-Soft, 16K £5.50 (1)
Author: Derek Jones
The title indicates that if you want a lady hero you can load side 2 instead of side 1 for Lord Harry. The inebriated Lord is lost in his friend’s ornate garden the morning after the night before. He must wander round, eating mushrooms to keep alive, whilst trying to find the secret exit. There are four interlinked gardens all full of puddles and trees in addition to mushrooms. The trees bar his way, the puddles lose a life — and to make matters worse there are two guard dogs chasing around after him. In one of the gardens there is a poisonous mushroom which, if Lord Harry eats it, is the end of him unless he finds the exit within 99 seconds. Reasonably well laid out control keys, progressive levels, attractive use of colour, but perhaps more aimed at the younger player rather than the arcade freak. Joystick: Kempston/Datel, Sinclair 2, Protek and AGF. Good value for money, overall CRASH rating 63% M/C.

Producer: Phipps Associates, 48K £5.95 (2)
This verges on being a ‘Pac Man’ variant, but not quite. The idea is that you are spending the night in a strange house full of unpleasant monsters. Fortunately you are wise to the lore and know that if you can get the four sections of a cross from the four corners of the floor to the central room you will destroy the power of the monsters. Each screen is the same maze with a square in the middle and four ‘L’ shaped pieces which you must collect one at a time and take to the centre. When the cross is formed the monsters die and you progress to the next, more difficult level with more nasties. The game offers reasonable graphics and is simple to play. Not very addictive, not even very serious but it may appeal to younger players and is certainly fun between alien-zapping. Poor keys (cursors), joystick: Kempston, average, CRASH overall rating 59% M/C.

Producer: CDS, 16K £5.95 (2)
Despite the inlay blurb of times past and wizardry renewed, this is no adventure game, in fact a good version of the ‘Dig Dug’ type of mining game, where your man creates his own tunnels in search of valuables and thus his own maze, and gets chased by meanies. You’re in control of Meltec (a wizard) who is seeking lumps of lead. There is also a wandering cherry on each screen which he must collect to progress to the next screen. The meanies set chasing him up his self-created pathways — to get rid of them he can undermine the red apples and drop them on the meanies, or at least block off a pathway before dashing onto the next blue lump of lead. The graphics are quite small, one character size and they move jerkily, but the game’s attraction lies in the skill and quick thinking required to outwit the meanies. Sensible control keys, joystick: Kempston, 9 skill levels in speed and progressive difficulty, above average. Overall CRASH rating 58% M/C.

Producer: PSS, 48K £4.95
You’re in your car, lost in this endless maze, avoiding the hazards like rock falls, ice, oil slicks and the maniacs in their evil cars. Collect the flags for points and watch out for fuel dumps — the thirsty car needs them frequently. Control is fast and positive, good graphics and scrolling from screen to screen is effective. A good, fast game. Unfortunately you can’t alter between the three skill levels once selected, and the instructions don’t tell you that it’s the cursor keys which operate. No Joystick option but it will work with AGF or Protek. Machine code, moderately addictive.

Producer: DK Tronics, 48K £5.95 (1)
Author: Don Priestley
This pure find-your-way-through-a-maze-and-escape game is among the best ever from DK. Simple in concept, its playability lies in the lovely graphics and its speed of play. The aim is to enter the maze and discover the gold, which will be at least 200 moves away. Embedded in the walls are many useful items like food and swords. Keep your strength up by eating and use the swords against the dreaded Maziacs. There are prisoners also embedded in the maze walls and they will tell you the shortest route to the gold by marking the path in yellow. This only lasts for a few seconds however. The swords only last for one attack, and without one an awful Maziac will surely kill you off. Once you’ve found the gold your problems really start as you can’t carry both gold and a sword, so it makes sense to kill of as many Maziacs as you can on the way in. Excellent graphics and animation with plenty of detail. User-defined control keys, joystick: Kempston and cursor joysticks via user-define. 4 skill levels, randomly generated maze each game. CRASH rating: highly recommended, overall 82% M/C.

Producer: Blaby, 48K £5.50
Author: Rob Jones
The hero, Percy, is a little IC chip who has become unplugged from his socket. You must guide him through the maze of circuitry inside ‘Uncle Clive’s’ computer and plug him in again. There are two keys to find which, when used in the correct door, will unlock them, but they must be done in the right order. The maze is full of resistors, diodes and capacitors which are chasing Percy, and his energy, which starts at 1200 units, runs down very quickly. To add to his problems, the walls of the maze are electrified. The only weapon is an energy beam which fires in the direction of movement. Only a small part of the total playing area is visible on screen. Good graphics and smooth compiled movement. Auto start and cursor control keys are a slight drawback. CRASH rating: a worthy maze game if not quite up to Blaby’s addictive standards. Overall 63% compiled M/C.

Producer: Virgin Games, 48K £5.95 (1)
Author: Gareth Briggs
Quetz is one of four Aztec Gods you’ll meet in this 3D maze which represents the interior of an Aztec temple with four floors. Quetz is the nicest and provides glass beads for you to collect and gives you a map of the floors when you bump into him. The map disintegrates with use, so use it sparingly. The other gods all present different problems to overcome on their particular floors. The floors are connected by shafts, mostly black and a few blue ones. If you use a black shaft, it destroys the beads you have collected. The longer you take to find a blue shaft the more black ones will appear. Should you find the exit safely, then the beads you have found can be used to barter with the natives for your life. It is a playable game, with quite good 3D graphics and 6 skill levels, but not much sense of real danger. Average, CRASH rating 56% M/C.

Producer: Arcade, 48K £5.50
This is only a maze game in a very general sense. The game has 30 levels to play through. Each level shows a cross section through a mine with several floors visible and three lifts. Your miner (nice animation) must walk through the mine, using the lifts, and collect all the diamonds littered about whilst avoiding the spiders, ghost and boulder-throwing troll. When all the gems have been collected a lamp appears at bottom left which must be collected before progressing to the next level. Not a fast game, and at first it doesn’t seem addictive either, but the ease with which you progress is matched by the ease with which you seem to lose lives. Getting to the 30th level rewards you with a picture of the surface. Nice graphics and sound, the clever player lines up all his lifts first.

Producer: Virgin Games, 48K £5.95 (1)
Author: Keith Mitchell
This is a 3-part game. In the first section you must cross a room to 2 cupboards and collect a doorkey and a stethoscope. A guard moves about with a torch and you are caught if you appear in his beam. There is also a safe key hidden in the room. Getting through this dumps you onto a collapsing bridge with spikes beneath. The third part is a maze where you must swim under water, avoiding fish and get out before your oxygen runs out, then cross an invisible maze avoiding man-eating birds, get through narrow passages avoiding the bouncing balls, and lastly a maze which disappears as soon as you’ve seen it. Sounds exciting but it isn’t. This is a good sketch for a much better game. The inlay instructions are incorrect and the game has a tendency to freeze terminally at odd times. Primitive graphics and unresponsive control don’t help. Poor. CRASH rating overall 48%. Compiled M/C.

Producer: Softex, 16K £5.95
Author: Andrew Beale
This ‘Frenzy/Berserk’ game, unlike most of Softek’s other programs, is not very good. At the slowest of the nine skill levels it’s a bit boring, and at the fastest it’s quite meaningless. The usual format is followed; electrified walls, robots, unkillable ‘Raboks’ which leave exploding mines behind. Four directional movement with unanimated characters. 100% machine code, three lives, hi-score, no joystick option. Oddly the control keys are cursor with nine to fire, so you could use AGF or Protek joysticks for the movement but not for firing.

Producer: Ocean, 16K £5.90
The name was changed from ‘Frenzy’ to avoid confusion with Quicksilva’s game of the same name. As usual the walls are electrified. But the graphics are much better than anyone else’s version, bigger and better animated. Only the robots’ heads are vulnerable, and their floating leader is invulnerable. You can only escape him by jumping into another sector. The game speeds up as you clear sectors, and more robot patrols appear. Move and fire in eight directions. Joystick: Kempston. Good value.

Producer: Incentive, 48K £5.50 (1)
Author: Ian Andrew & Ian Morgan
Put simply, Splat is dangerously addictive! The hero, called Zippy, must move round a large maze, eating clumps of grass, invisible grass, and plums, whilst avoiding the spikes, water and the edges of the maze. This would be child’s play if it weren’t for the fact that the maze scrolls all by itself, in any direction it fancies. If Zippy gets trapped between a wall of the maze and the wall surrounding the edge, then it’s SPLAT! Escape is on level 7 but with each level cleared the next becomes more difficult and the maze scrolls faster. Panic sets in at a moment’s notice. When you get through a screen the computer yells out ‘Yippee!’ Simple, effective graphics, smooth movement, user-defined control keys, joystick: Kempston, AGF and Protek. Highly recommended, overall CRASH rating 82% M/C.

Producer: Bug-Byte, 16K £5.95
You must move your man through three horizontal areas; top, a simple maze infested with spiders to get to a door into the middle section, which is the river full of piranhas, and then to the beach, to pass through the lower area where the dead spirits lurk. If you make it through, the exit is guarded by a shrouded figure whose touch is death. It’s a simple set up and would not be interesting if it weren’t for the fact that it’s not easy. The screens are always the same but with more denizens as you go along. Keyboard positions are good, the graphics neat eight directional movement. No joystick option.

Producer: Add-on, 48K £7.95
The title frame promises excitement, but the game doesn’t deliver. Poor graphics and movement make you wonder why it needed 48K in the first place. Basically you must take on some robots in a simple outline maze. Keyboard positions are irritating and there’s a poor response. No joystick option. Not really worth the very high price.

Producer: Romik, 16K £6.99
Author: Dave Noonan
This is a 3D ‘corridor’ type game. The maze is on three floors and your mission is to find the missing keys and return them to the start position. Then you must find a bomb and defuse it before it detonates (against the clock). To make the task harder there are monsters moving about the maze that can be killed by one of your limited supply of grenades. To help you the monsters can be seen on a radar screen. The 3D graphic representation is very good and easy to visualise. The keyboard positions are well thought out and a joystick may be used. The monsters appear very suddenly in front of you for a second before you lose your life — like a scene from Alien! Five skill levels and an absorbing game. Good value for money.

Producer: Gilsoft, 16K £5.95
Author: T Gilberts
This is a maze without monsters or robots. The maze is seen from eye level in 3D blocks, so it’s a game of orientation and geography. The aim is to wander the maze, collecting gold bars which lie on the floor and get to the level’s exit quickly before the value of gold you are carrying falls to zero! This is no easy task, a pencil and pad would help. There are ten levels of play from 0 (impossible) down to 9 (village idiots). For levels 4-9 you can select an overhead plan view whenever you want which shows you your position and heading, the exit and positions of all gold bars left to collect. It doesn’t show you the walls of the maze — that would be too easy. When you return to the maze itself a display tells you the value of the gold you have collected (falling all the while of course), moves made so far, level of play and a compass with a moving north. For the contemplative, an excellent game with loads of playability. Cursor keys, joystick: AGF or Protek.

Producer: Micromania, 48K £5.95 (1)
Author: Dominic Wood
Tut was an Egyptian despot who stored his worldly goods in a large tomb. Your job as archaeologist or grave robber, is to wander the five tombs and collect as much treasure as you can. You may start at tomb 1 or at a later stage if you wish. The maze scrolls left and right and vertical tunnels wrap around top to bottom. What makes this game difficult is the ferocious speed of the beasts that inhabit the tombs. Monsters include mummies, cobras, spiders and skulls. You are provided with a continuous firing laser, but it only works horizontally, which makes you vulnerable in the vertical tunnels. There is also a smart bomb to be used once per tomb or life, but its effects are very short-lived indeed. At the top is a map of the entire complex. Doors block the tombs from each other. Lively graphics, speed and good key positions all combine to make this very playable and addictive. Overall CRASH rating 72% M/C — a maze/zap game with a different feel.

Producer: Thorn EMI, 16K £6.95 (1)
Author: Nick Burroughs
It is your task to destroy the evil race of Zerans, who live on a volcanic planet. To do this you must make your way through an underground complex to the depths of the city and place a bomb on the volcanic plug and then make your escape before it goes off. 5 skill levels provide a city with between 3 and 15 floors. The screen only shows a tiny part of the whole with a small map of the entire floor you are on. Floors are connected by lifts which only travel between 2 floors. The Zerans are equipped with blasters and huge crushing slaves. Dotted about are tool repair kits and spare oxygen bottles, but the Zerans will take them first if you’re not quick. Your armour and life support is eroded by Zeran attack. The graphics are very good, especially the wonderful blaster effect, and all in all this is an excellent maze game with plenty of potential. Lots of control keys, joystick Sinclair and Kempston. One drawback — poor sound. Apart from that, a very good game, overall CRASH rating 69% M/C.

Producer: Puffin Books, 48K £6.95 (1)
Author: N Mottershead & S Brattel
Put together by Crystal for Puffin, this is a simpler and more playable version of Hall of the Things, and adapted from a successful book. You must enter the labyrinth beneath the crags of Firetop Mountain to get the Warlock’s treasure. This is guarded by Orcs, Spiders, Slime Mould and other horrors. Your weapons are a sword and a bow. To get to the treasure you must collect 15 keys. Most doors open and shut at command and the maze scrolls smoothly as you move. As in HOTT there are a lot of control keys — 18 in all, and practice is essential to stay alive. Good looking monsters, which home in on you as soon as they spot you, loads of speed in the fights, and for the price you get a copy of the book as well. Puffin have a winner with this one. Overall CRASH rating 73% M/C.

Producer: Abersoft, 48K £4.95
This is a robot/maze game, but a considerable improvement on the ‘Berserk’ type. The complex is haunted by robots which fire away blindly at anything, and which you must destroy. The earlier ones are pretty dumb, but later additions get harder to hit and are better at hitting you; some are even invisible (use the radar to spot them). Machine code. Joystick: Kempston. Addictive and good value.