CRASH

Adventure & Strategy Games

FAUST’S FOLLY

Abbex, £5.95, 16K

Faust’s Folly is tucked away somewhere in this congenial adventure game. Finding its location has a lot to do with correct use of the vocabulary, as usual, and having picked up the correct implements along the way (the instructions point out that the computer is not very intelligent and may not know which way west is if you have failed to get the compass). We found this program was not as irritatingly finicky as some can be, and the response time to your inputs is very fast. Beware of losing your way; at almost any location you can go up and down as well as the 8 compass points — a sort of mental 3D maze.

DALLAS

C.C.S, £6.00, 48K

This strategy game offers you the opportunity to get your own back for being forced to watch hours of J.R. on telly. Can you keep ahead of the oil game in Texas? Will you take over the EUING EMPIRE, or will it get you instead? The game starts with a map of the Dallas area, divided into a lettered reference grid. You must make seismic surveys to find the good sites and then bid for them. Unfortunately the concessions up for auction appear at random, so you may well have to bid blind and then make a survey, which costs much more. Then you can move a rig from Dallas (nearer the cheaper) and drill, place a production unit on the site, and lay a pipeline. The more sophisticated your concession becomes the more open to sabotage it is. Oil prices fluctuate all the while (usually down, it seemed to us) and life generally becomes sticky.

CORN CROPPER

C.C.S, £6.00, 48K

Okay, cornballs — time to get your hands dirty down on your 30 acre farm. This original game has been expanded from the popular ZX-81 version to take full advantage of the graphics and colour quality of the Spectrum. There’s the buying of seed crop to do, planting, irrigating, ploughing, harvesting, hiring and firing of hands, spraying the bugs to organise, as well as keeping an eye on the weather and rainfall. It is hard to keep that farm on an even keel (to mix metaphors) and poor farmers soon find themselves sinking...

REVERSI

C.D.S, £5.95, 16K

A board game of skill, strategy and quick thinking for 2 players or 1 against the computer. The popular board game of black reversible counters against white reversible counters, is here translated to the screen in a fast game of wits.

SUPER CHESS II

C.P. Software, £7.95, 48K

A first rate computer chess game with 7 levels of skill. Tournament response times reflect the complexity of the move to be made. Several standard openings are programmed, illegal moves refused, castling and capture of pieces by pawns ‘en passant’ allowed.

ZX DRAUGHTS

C.P. Software, £5.95, 48K

10 levels of play with a response time decreasing to practically zero! Random openings and full Capture Search facility. Pieces reaching the opposing back line automatically become ‘kings’

DICTATOR

DK Tronics, £4.95, 48K

One of our favourites. You’ve just become President of Ritimba, an equatorial banana republic. Like all the previous, and short-lived presidents, your reign will be brief and unenviable. The others are all dead or in exile. How long can you survive your greedy and hated secret police, bullying army chiefs, revolting peasants, irritating guerillas, bothersome commies and snotty-nosed landowners? The treasury is running out of money and every decision you are forced to take annoys those it doesn’t benefit. You can always try to borrow cash from the Americans or Russians, as long as you can bear listening to their National Anthem while they decide... Recommended. This one sorts out the Presidents from the Peasants.

GOLDMINE

DK Tronics, £4.95, 16K

There’s a bank on the surface where you can deposit your gold, and a lifthead to take you underground. Choose a level and start digging tunnels to reach the nuggets. But not everything that glistens turns out to be gold — some of it is worthless minerals. Rockfalls block your way and you must dig carefully to allow space for the hidden underground streams to flow away without drowning you. And watch your level of strength which starts dropping as soon as you descend, the more gold you are carrying, the faster it drains away. Oh, and mind that weight in your sack — the lift isn’t all that strong! Strategy is the key to clearing all the gold safely.

HEATHROW — AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL

Hewson, £7.95, 48K

This is the opposite of flight simulation programs because this time you’re on the ground in air traffic control. Your task: direct incoming flights from the holding stacks safely and smoothly to the runway. Your instruments: radar showing aircraft call signs, blips and trails; displays giving the altitude, heading, speed and size of the aircraft. 7 levels of play including a demo mode. This intricate and clever program lets you progress to handling mixed aircraft, restricted airspace, and outbound flights too. Cope with emergencies, unknown aircraft, radio failure, loss of runway and on board instrument failure. You’ll never fly again!

HUMMER HOUSE OF HORROR

Lasersound, £7.00, 48K

Clouds obscure the moon and you are alone in the dreadful, rambling house — or are you? No you’re not because every room is seething with something or someone who wants something from you or something he wants you to pass onto someone else. Confused? Well you will be when the imp asks you for the secret code and you don’t know it because you haven’t come across it yet. 3D simple graphics to give a sense of direction but the vocabulary is quite finicky.

JOHNNY REB

Lothlorien, £5.50, 48K

Lothlorien specialises in war strategy games which require patience for the best results and promise hours of fun for the addict. We found that they were as well played in committee as by a lone strategist, so they are good for all the family. In this program 1 or players can enjoy the full graphics wargame set in the American Civil War. Each side selects its forces of infantry, cavalry and artillery with which it must capture the enemy’s flag. There is a ‘save game’ facility which allows a partly played game to be reloaded to test alternate tactics.

REDWEED

Lothlorien, £5.50, 48K

Another battle graphics game which shows 3 Martian war machines advancing on London, whilst semi-sentient Redweed threatens to put your fighting units out of action as it grows across the map. You have many and varied types of force from heavy artillery to light infantry and flame throwers to be used against the Redweed wherever it appears. Each turn you can move as many units as you like the number of squares each type is allowed. They can all attack as well, depending on their particular firing range. Then the Martians have a go. 15 skill levels to test your tactical abilities.

WARLORD

Lothlorien, £5.50, 48K

This takes us back to the same period as in Samurai Warrior. You rule a small coastal village which supports itself by slave labour and upon the fruits of raids against other villages. In turn your village may be attacked by the other villages or the pirates off the coast. The object of the game is to survive as long as possible with your samurai warriors and village militia.

SAMURAI WARRIOR

Lothlorien, £5.50, 16K

You are a Samurai Warrior living during the Kamakura period in Japan (1185–1333). There are no bonus points for killing Anjin-San or Richard Chamberlain, but you must defeat your opponents and survive into old age or commit Seppuku. Up against you are 6 groups of bandits and 9 other Samurai of differing abilities, any of whom may be superior to yourself.

PRIVATEER

Lothlorien, £4.50, 48K

Not a wargame. but a 3-phase real time game which gives you command of a Royal Navy ship at the time of Nelson. Kiss me Hardy and we’ll intercept the French Privateers, elevating and firing the mortars, sailing the ship against the wind, and firing the guns while the Privateers try to sink us. We consider this a suitable game for an introduction to the whole battle strategy area, but perhaps too simple in its scope for hardened veterans.

ROMAN EMPIRE

Lothlorien, £5.50, 16K

In this cast of thousands it is the 1st century BC and you are the Emperor (A working knowledge of ‘I Claudius’ might be helpful but isn’t essential!) What you have to do is simply conquer 10 countries which hate you, and you do this by wiping out their troops with your 90,000 troops. There are 9 generals on your side including yourself and 18 legions of 5,000 men each. The idea is to build armies from the men, appoint generals and launch campaigns to persuade the barbarians how wonderful life under the yoke can be. 3 levels of difficulty.

TYRANT OF ATHENS

Lothlorien, £5.50, 16K

If you are tired of being the dictator of Ritimba banana republic, how about Tyrant of Athens? It’s the fifth century BC and you are beset by hostile armies and fleets from other powerful Greek States as well as by the Persians (damn their eyes). All you have to do is survive long enough to turn Athens into the most feared state in the Mediterranean by building warships, training troops and fighting battles by land and sea.

THE HOBBIT

Melbourne House, £14.95, 48K

A mixture of graphics as well as the usual adventure game words make the Hobbit one of the very best ever. This program has artificial intelligence, whereby characters within the game are moving and acting independently throughout the game. (Some even get killed without you knowing until you accidentally stumble over their bodies!) A working knowledge of the novel upon which this game is based is essential and the book is included with the cassette in the price. Scoring is done by telling you the percentage of the total game you have achieved. It is a long, long game and not one for the snatched moment.

MAD MARTHA

Mikrogen, £6.95, 48K

This is a real value for money game. Steal your wife’s money, avoid the howling baby and hungry moggy, and have a night out on the town. Problem! Your wife happens to be MAD MARTHA and she’s a homicidal maniac escaped from Friday The 13th Part Six. (What on earth you are doing married to her is anyone’s guess!) The program talks (via the screen) to you directly because you can enter in your name at the start. As usual there is the correct use of vocabulary problem, but it is pretty sophisticated as you can join sentences with conjunctions. Mad Martha is not as straight forward as you might at first suppose. We won’t give away the secret of how to play, but the game is invariable in the way it proceeds (clue!) which makes it resemble a verbal maze game. Even if you are clever with the words there are infuriating arcade bits to trip you up. We never got out of the house by fair means and in an attempt to see what came next, cheated by breaking into the programme and altered a line so that the damned moggy didn’t stop us getting away with the money. But cheats never prosper — there was another arcade bit immediately following! Needless to say, if you foul up, Mad Martha comes at you with an axe and it’s R.I.P.

STAR TREK/MUNCHMAN

Neptune, £5.50, 48K

An excellent strategy game with arcade overtones (and a free ‘pac-man’ variant on the back which is very good too). The complex instructions need to be mastered and 2 or 3 players can pool their brains to clear the Klingon ships and bases from the galaxy. We put this ‘trek’ version under strategy because it requires much more thought than actual action. A welter of status reports keeps you in touch with the condition of the Enterprise. Photon torpedoes and Phasers require accurate course directions for attacking the enemy who fire back relentlessly. Long and short range scanners, impulse and warp speed engines, galactic map and posthumous awards all add up to a very enjoyable game to play for hours. RECOMMENDED.

BREAKAWAY

Procom, £5.95, 16K

This is a high speed game which teaches you your keyboard layout since high scores are achieved only by pressing indicated keys as fast as possible. One of those poor princesses has got herself into a spot of bother again, in fact she’s all tied up. The masses of entangled strings each have a keyboard character at their ends. To release her you must press the 2 keys for each string — against the clock. If she thinks you’re not fast enough, she flashes out a help sign.

AIRLINER

Protek, £5.95, 48K

A new game from a new company, this flight simulator program features a BAC 1-11 jetliner coming in to land at Edinburgh airport. You can take off and fly to another field, or circle and land. It’s a pity there isn’t a proper view through the windscreen but keeping an eye on the wealth of instruments is rewarding enough and difficult. Landing requires skill and plenty of practice and an understanding of how jets really fly might be useful (how much flaps do you need?)

VELNOR’S LAIR

Quicksilva, £6.95, 48K

By Derek Brewster of Neptune Computing (Star Trek), this is a top class Sword and Sorcery adventure game. There are no graphics but don’t let that put you off, it’s entertaining enough without. You can choose to be wizard, warrior or a priest as you enter the Goblin Labyrinth in search of a — well we think it’s a princess or something but no one’s got better than a 25% rating yet. One thing you must not do with this lively programme is take anything for granted — it’s quite likely to be an illusion. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

SMUGGLER’S COVE

Quicksilva, £6.95, 48K

Falling through a concealed cave entrance you find yourself caught in a fable full of horror and Black Beard’s Treasure... This one’s so new we haven’t had time to review it at time of going to press — so please check for availability first!

3D STRATEGY

Quicksilva, £6.95, 48K

This is described as a ‘state of the art’ program, by which they mean it is breaking new ground. A battle of nerve and wits and very, very fast, this is a 3D version of naughts and crosses in 100% machine code. NEW so please check availability.

TRADER

Quicksilva, £9.95, 48K

A multi-layer game, part strategy, part arcade, part adventure. The packaging is good and includes a survival guide to inter-galactic trading. Basically this is a trilogy (watch out for the mid-game tape loadings) in which you must trade with other planets, and demonstrate your skill in finding the correct orbits when approaching them from space. Wrongly answered questions can be fatal — will you survive? Trader has the biggest game graphics yet and they manage to be cinematic. Still one of the all time top sellers, don’t miss out on this piece of space capitalism.

THE CHESS PLAYER

Quicksilva, £4.95, 48K

This is a ‘talking’ chess program which didn’t actually say very much to us after introducing itself. At least it didn’t keep saying ‘Ouch’ after every move. Mostly it contented itself with making on-screen rude comments like, “I expected that,” or “Now you’ve asked for it.” But perhaps it’s more talkative on the higher levels of play. (The time lag in response on the highest levels is measured in hours!) But any disappointment with its vocal silence can not take away from the game itself. 6 levels of play, analysis, copy display and moves to the printer, and a feature which lets you redesign the colours of the pieces and board for ease of seeing. Illegal moves refused, pawns may capture ‘en passant’ and castling is allowed. Pawns reaching the opposing back file automatically become queens. It took three of us and several hours, but we beat it on the easiest level — what better recommendation could you want?

MINED OUT

Quicksilva, £4.95, 48K

This is a nail-biting game of strategy in which you are presented with a blank field densely sown with mines. Each move you take clears the square and so leaves a trail. Warnings flash to tell you you’re about to tread on a mine, but is it ahead or to the left or right? Includes damsels in distress to be rescued for extra points and 9 levels of progressive difficulty. There are mobile mines which chase you and a mine layer to avoid. Best of all is the action replay when you have been blown up which shows you where you went with all the mines visible and makes you feel stupid.

SPECTRUM SAFARI

Rushton, £5.95, 48K

Okay Bwana, so how good are you at getting your team of intrepid explorers across an island infested with university educated animals? Basically you must move across the island, trading with the native settlements for food (your men can die of starvation quite rapidly), and purchase the only boat to sail away. You can also buy men from the villages to supplement your lost explorers. Once you have visited a village it disappears so it’s important not to waste opportunities. But the main problems encountered come from the wildlife which keep asking questions (a lion wants you to tell him his name, which flashes on the screen for what seemed like a nano-second). If the answer is wrong, another explorer bites the dust. Nimble fingers needed for the arcade bits, and avoid the cliff over which the lemmings commit suicide — it’s a messy death! Nice clear graphics and a veritable MGM musical score. One of the newest games and a must!

SUPER SPY

Shepherd, £6.50, 48K

Super Spy is a word and maze adventure game which takes you on a global spy chase in search of Doctor Death. First you must find his island, then breach his lair and then get rid of him. The program asks you to sort out puzzles and coded messages likes T.S.X.C.Y.B.M. (which is very straightforward of course). It’s full of taxi drivers, waiters and maids who keep giving you things that will either explode or help, and Dr. Death’s awful midget who attacks without warning, anywhere. Each time you play it’s a different solution which wins. Includes full ‘save’ routine.

EVEREST ASCENT

Shepherd, £6.50, 48K

How’s your head for heights? You’ve got 20 days to scale the snowy inclines of Mount Everest starting with limited funds. Sherpas, equipment and supplies are expensive, so you must choose carefully. (Donations may come in during the expedition however). The sherpas, with homely names like Ted, Bob or Keith, have differing strengths and charge accordingly for their services. Also they eat like horses and tend to run off if you can’t pay them. What happened to all that initiative shown by Sherpa Tensing? So it’s all up to you to weigh the pros and cons and take the decisions. Good luck.

DO NOT PASS GO

Workforce, £6.95, 48K

If you like playing THAT BOARD GAME, then this is a really good computer version. which allows up to 6 players to take part “without the need to attend to all the boring bits,” as the cover blurb says. The boring bits are things like throwing the dice and moving the counters, shuffling the cards and counting the money. Each player gets £1500 to start and the screen displays all the information required (such as what square you are on and what property it is) before each player’s turn. This appears in the centre of the traditional board layout. The 2 dice appear at the top right, and all the usual features like buying, selling, mortgaging, rent, houses, hotels, jail, chance and community chest are in the game. The game can be saved at any stage — useful for meal breaks.

GOLF

Virgin Games, £7.95, 48K

Take a healthy walk across the links and play a round, but watch out for the natural hazards as you test your skill against the par. A welter of on screen instructions is trying to start with, but the game plays well when you actually get out of the club house. Random wind effects seemed to add too much of a luck element to the sport, but practice makes perfect — well almost anyway.

The Crash Micro team find the peace and quiet of sleepy olde worlde Ludlow disturbed by questing visitors in search of computer games. Left to right: Roger Kean, Franco Frey, Olivery Frey.