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HELTER SKELTER

 

 

Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only

 

Game Type : Arcade

Authors : Adrian Stephens and Kevin Blake

Standalone Release(s) : 1991: HELTER SKELTER, Audiogenic, 9.95

Compilation Release(s) : None

Stated compatibility : Electron Side A, BBC Side B

Actual compatibility : As stated

Supplier : AUDIOGENIC, Winchester House, Canning Road, HARROW HA3 7SJ

Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00

 

 

Instructions

"Remember when computer games were fun? When you would stay up all night playing them? HELTER SKELTER unashamedly recreates the addictive simplicity, the fun and the enjoyment that made games like PACMAN, BREAKOUT and BUBBLE BOBBLE all-time classics!

 

Bounce your way through 80 challenging screens, squashing monsters, snatching tokens and collecting bonuses. Then, for a change, use the built-in designer to design 48 screens of your own, as hard, as simple, as much fun as you like.

 

It's even more fun when two play at once! Do you co-operate, or you do compete? Do you play fair, or do you double-cross? If you thought the fun had gone out of computer games, then HELTER SKELTER is the game that'll change your mind!"

 

Monsters everywhere! Running around, falling from the sky, jumping from platforms. Monsters above, monsters below, monsters heading straight for you! Catch them if you can, and bounce on them while they're vulnerable - but be quick, because when the timer runs out your bouncing ball will burst.

 

Getting Started

One or two can play - press P to toggle between one and two players, then start the game by pressing the Space bar. You control a bouncing red ball (Player 2 controls a white ball). Press Z or X to move the ball left or right (< or > if you are Player 2) and press C (Player 2 - ?) to vary the bounce of the ball. Holding down the C key when the ball is travelling downwards makes it bounce more, holding it down when the ball is going up deadens the bounce. Press <DELETE> to pause the game or <ESCAPE> to abort.

 

HELTER SKELTER has 74 different screens for you to conquer (but you can also design your own). Each has a number of monsters that wander around on platforms and ledges. Sometimes monsters are trapped by walls, forced to remain on a particular ledge, but often they can roam from ledge to ledge, floating down to the ledge below whenever they fall off the edge.

 

All you need to do is squash the monsters with the ball before the countdown timer reaches zero. It couldn't be easier - or could it? The problem is that only one of the monsters (indicated by an arrow) is

vulnerable at a time. Hit the wrong monster and it splits into two smaller monsters!

 

Scoring

Each monster that you squish is worth 500 points. When you complete a screen you score a bonus of 1000 points for each unit of time remaining. There's another bonus, the skill bonus, which varies from screen to screen and halves every time you press the jump key, so use it sparingly.

 

Tokens

Occasionally a token will appear, bearing one of the letters E-X-T-R-A. Collect all five to earn a bonus ball - but beware, two letters the same will cancel each other out! Other tokens that appear will give you a temporary advantage - one token makes the monsters stand still for a time, another freezes the countdown timer. There's even a token that will take you straight to the next screen!

 

Loading Different Screens

When you load the game the first forty screens (SCRFLA) are automatically loaded. The other 34 screens are stored on the program disk or tape under the filename SCRFLB. Press L when the title screen is displayed, then press the Space bar until the correct filename is displayed. If you succeed in playing through a complete set of screens you can, if you wish, replay them - but they will be subtly different!

 

Screen Editor

The built-in screen editor allows you to create up to forty screens of your own (subject to memory space). Press E whilst the title screen is displayed - when you enter the editor, the pre-defined screens are erased from memory. First draw the platforms - press P then use the keys Z, X, * and ? to move the platform block around the screen and <RETURN> to place or remove a block. Next decide how many monsters you want and where they should start from. Press M then choose the start position for each monster (there can be up to 4). Press the Space bar to step through the different monster types.

 

Press B to fix the starting position of the two balls, T to increment the time allowed on the screen, and O to increment the bonus. C changes the colour of the screen, S changes the background pattern, and F

flushes out (erases) all the screens in memory, so use it with care! When designing a screen you should allow a gap of at least four blocks in the horizontal direction or five in the vertical direction if you want the ball to pass between two ledges. Ensure too that you allow enough time to complete the screen.

 

When you have completed a screen, press <ESCAPE> to store the screen in memory (provided there is enough room). Once a screen has been stored it cannot be edited! Press E again if you want to design another screen. When you have finished designing screens you'll probably want to save them (do not use the program disk or tape!). Disks must first be formatted, then initialised using the command CHAIN"CREATE" (You must do this before you load the game). To save a set of screens, press S when the title screen is displayed, select a filename, then press <RETURN>.

 

 

Instructions Source : HLETER SKELTER (Audiogenic) Back and Inner Inlay

 

Review (Electron User) - "Bounce Into Action"

In these days of ever increasing sophistication it is most refreshing to play a game as simple yet addictive as Audiogenic's HELTER SKELTER.

 

The storyline goes like this: The world has been overrun by herds of comical looking monsters and your mission is to bounce the little blighters into oblivion. I choose the word bounce specifically, since you are a red rubber sphere of considerable size.

 

Ball control is achieved by means of three keys - left, right and bounce and your mastery of the bounce button will determine the outcome of the game. Oddly enough the world that you are defending is constructed in platform game fashion - single screens, with several platforms floating in mid-air. Each is inhabited by one or more randomly moving monsters just waiting to be bounced.

 

Being an ace tactician, my first inclination was to ricochet around the screen as fast as possible, obliterating everything that I touched. After I had doubled the indigenous monster population in five seconds I decided to adopt a more subtle approach - so I sat down and read the instructions.

 

The accompanying script indicated that the programmers had anticipated my sledgehammer approach by specifying the order in which the monsters must be despatched.

 

On all occasions, the next one to be blatted is highlighted by a large white arrow hovering above its head. Contact with any other beast induces instant binary fission, the result being two furry fiends scurrying around the screen instead of one.

 

Don't be put off by the fact that you can literally sprint through the first few screens, as this is a deliberate ploy to boost your confidence. Things soon begin to increase in both complexity and difficulty - don't forget that you have a total of 74 levels to complete before you reach the end!

 

HELTER SKELTER's monsters are not in any way harmful to the bouncing ball and the game's controlling factor is time. A digital clock counts down the seconds as you race to obliterate the monster masses. Tension is heightened by a rapid ticking sound that starts at the 10 seconds marker.

 

Scoring is relatively simple. You receive 500 points for every monster you zap, a further 1,000 bonus for every second that remains on the clock, and a final skill bonus which is halved every time you press the bounce button.

 

This final bonus encourages a player to adopt the most economical approach to completing a screen - this is also probably the quickest.

 

Variety is introduced by means of various tokens that appear at random throughout the game. Time limit permitting, you may be able to collect the letters E-X-T-R-A and be rewarded with an additional ball.

 

Alternatively there is a range of symbol tokens that can temporarily paralyse the monsters, interrupt the passage of time, or best of all, teleport you to the next level.

 

Sound is used sparingly: There is no title tune and the spot effects are simple, but this doesn't really detract from the game's appeal.

 

Considering the now ageing Electron's capabilities, HELTER SKELTER strikes a good balance between graphic detail and colour use. On the animation front, the characters exhibit flicker-free and fluid movement, with the realistic response of the ball to the apparent gravitational effects being worthy of note.

 

If you become bored with playing your way through the same old levels time after time and you're not good enough to get any further, try pressing E while you're on the title screen. Once the discrete message Edit mode has disappeared you will be faced with a blank screen - a canvas upon which you an express the more devious side of your personality.

 

This built-in level designer allows you to create an infinite number of new screens, provided that you save them to disc or tape in groups of 40.

 

You are given total control over the size and location of all platforms, the number of monsters present, the starting position of your ball, the time allocation and the size of the low bounce bonus.

 

The only failing of this otherwise powerful editor is that you cannot edit a screen one you have committed it to memory. If you've used game editors in the past you will realise the magnitude of this omission. There is no way that you will ever create a well balanced level at the first attempt - it will always be too easy, too difficult or just downright impossible!

 

I would rate HELTER SKELTER as one of the better platform games to have hit the market in recent years. Simplicity is the keyword throughout: Simple controls, simple gameplay, simply fun!

Jon Revis

 

Sound ........................... 7

Graphics ........................ 8

Playability ..................... 9

Value for money ................. 9

Overall ......................... 8

 

"Electron User Golden Game"

 

ELECTRON USER 7.10