Living Guide to Spectrum Software


Another of the earlier arcade type games which proved popular was Painter, and the idea has spawned many versions, several of which are available for the Spectrum. The principle behind a painter game is to make your character traverse a maze or grid, colour in the structure as he goes. Inevitably there is some nasty influence at work which tries to prevent this harmless activity...

Producer: Romik, 16K £7.99
Author: I Morrison/D Anderson
Colour clash contains four phases in a paint-the-squares game which demands strategy as well as skill. In phase one you fill the numerous squares by ‘painting’ round them, and if you succeed, you have a chance to eat the pursuing paint pots pacman style. Phase two is a bonus points section where you must press the fire button at the right moment to guide it to the flashing arrow. Stage three is the same as stage one only you are forced to paint each square one at a time rather than dodging along any line. The fourth and most demanding, has you attempting to surround the paint pots. Three keyboard layouts, joystick: Kempston or Sinclair. Three skill levels, excellent graphics and good value for money.

Producer: Blaby, 48K £5.50
One of the most original painter games. Harry must rustproof loads and loads of girders but he’s being chased by the rustbugs. As in a Kong-type game, Harry’s only way of avoiding the bugs is to jump over them, but he must paint every inch of the border before he can paint another on the same screen. Mean! Three screens including slides and lifts. Uses cursor keys, joystick: Kempston, AGF or Protek. Highly addictive and good value.

Producer: Gem Software, 16K £4.95 (1)
You are in charge of a party of archaeologists exploring Egyptian tombs. Each tomb has 5 levels, and on each you will find treasure houses, a scroll, a key, a mummy of the royal family, and two guardians. As soon as you enter a tomb, one of the guardians will be awakened and start chasing you. The other remains dormant unless you are unlucky enough to uncover it. You may only exit a tomb once the key has been uncovered, and you can kill off a guardian only after the scroll has been found. This may not sound like a ‘painter’ but in reality it is. The tomb is divided into squares with pathways between them. As you zip along a trail of dots shows your route and when all four sides of a square have been uncovered the contents of the square are revealed. It seems quite easy at first but at higher speeds and skill levels it becomes more addictive as the guardians become more intelligent. Excellent user-defined keys, joystick: AGF or Protek via cursors, good colour and graphics, 15 skill/speed levels, overall CRASH rating 69% — more fun than addictive perhaps, M/C.

Producer: A&F, 48K £5.75
A classic version, simple, beautiful graphics, good sound and utterly addictive. You must aerosol the spaces between the paint pots and daffy paint rollers chase you round, chuckling gleefully when they catch you and roll you flat. You start off against one roller, then two, three and soon. While it’s not difficult to begin with, it gets pretty fast when there are several rollers up against you. Good keyboard positions, no joystick option.

Producer: Rabbit, 48K £5.99( 2)
Author: J F Cain
This is a pretty classic version of ‘Armidar’ — a paint the squares game. The screen is divided into 24 rectangles of 3 different areas, each accorded a score of 100, 300 or 500 points. You must walk your monkey around the perimeter of the squares (a grid of dotted lines) until each square has been completed (the walked lines become solid). As each square is completed it is filled in with colour and you get the points. There is a bonus second screen — guide a teddy down various poles to land on a banana, then the third screen is similar to the first except you are a paint roller and there is a time limit which is eating the squares’ points away. Of course all this is done to the tune of thudding chasers’ footfalls, who are out to get you. It’s a fair copy with reasonable graphics, although the game type doesn’t lend itself to good looking screens really. Cursors or user-definable keys, joystick: AGF or Protek, poor sound, progressive difficulty, average but reasonably addictive. CRASH overall rating 60% m/c.

Producer: Quicksilva, 48K £6.95 (1)
Author: Jeff Minter/Salamander
Produced by Salamander for Quicksilva, Traxx is basically a ‘painter’ game with an ingenious difference. You have a grid of boxes, 30 in all, and the base of the bottom centre box is already painted purple. You’re a little green cursor, and as you move onto unpainted track it turns purple behind you. The object is to paint all the track, but the difference is that the paint is elastic — it won’t stretch further than 3 sides of a box, so each box must be completed before moving onto the next. There’s a chaser, of course, as many as 9 depending on the skill level, and 9 playing speeds. Sensible control keys, joystick: Protek or AGF. Mixed views with the main criticism being that it was difficult to control in a silly rather than exciting way, it being too easy to overshoot a turning. If you do so the elastic paint zips back and you have to start again. Fair value for money, CRASH rating 61% M/C.