MICROVALUE FOUR GAMES 3
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Types : Arcade
Release Information : 1986: MICROVALUE FOUR GAMES 3, Tynesoft, £3.99
Compilation Comprises : 1. KASTLE, Tynesoft
2. US DRAG RACING, Tynesoft
3. GOAL, Tynesoft
4. SPACE CAVERNS, Tynesoft
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron
Supplier : TYNESOFT, Unit 3 Addison Industrial Estate, Blaydon, TYNE & WEAR NE21 4TE. Tel: 091 414 4611
Disc compatibility : 1. CDFS E00, DFS E00
2. CDFS E00, DFS E00
3. CDFS E00, DFS E00
4. CDFS E00, DFS E00
Please see individual entries for complete playing instructions.
Review (Electron User) - "Cheap Thrills"
Budget games are the bread and butter of the Electron games market at the moment, and the vast majority of products released on budget labels are pretty good value for money.
MICROVALUE FOUR GAMES 3 is a new two-cassette compilation of four Tynesoft games previously released in their own right. At £3.99, it's aimed at the pocket money end of the market and, as the blurb points out, you're paying less than £1.00 per game. However, this rather hides the fact that two of the games as they stand are, in my opinion, not up to the present general standard expected of even budget software.
KASTLE is the first of the four titles, and is one of the exceptions to my criticisms. It's an arcade adventure in which you play the part of a knight, armed with a broadsword, who must negotiate the long-forgotten castle of Keltdown forest to reach your goal.
What this goal is supposed to be is not mentioned, but perhaps that's part of the puzzle - which is quite complex, involving hidden levers, moving portcullises and shifting platforms.
I quite enjoyed the game. There are skeletons to fight and evil black crows will swoop on you from their perches. Both can be dispatched swiftly with your sword, but must be hit before they get past your sword arm.
US DRAG RACING surprised me the most. Apparently it was previously available as a full-price game on its own.
The starting screen looks impressive enough, with two powerful dragsters sitting on the line waiting for the green light. But the fun begins when you start your motor and move off.
Revving the engine is achieved by frantically pumping two keys up and down to a set rhythm. Until now, I had thought that this sort of action was reserved for sports-type simulations - it is totally inappropriate when applied to controlling a racing car of whatever description.
Having mastered accelerating off the starting line, I was in for my second surprise. The only parts of the game which are animated are the back and white edges of the two racing lines. Not even the occasional bit of scenery flies by to give an impression of speed, which, by the way, is incredibly slow anyway, despite the lack of animated action.
GOAL fared rather better. In fact, it was my favourite of the four, achieving by far the best animated sequences and excitement factor. You have the programming talents of Tynesoft's Dave Croft to thank for this soccer simulation.
You can control any of the white players. Depending on which is closest to the ball, control is passed to the nearest player by pressing <RETURN>. This is an unfortunate choice of key, however, because it is also used to kick the ball when you are close to it.
The result of a missed kick can be a sudden switch of control to another player, which can take you a moment or two to realise, leaving you way off the ball by the time the penny drops.
The opposing side is controlled by the Electron, and you can decide between two levels of difficulty. I found the lower level more than hard enough, as the computer-controlled players make fewer mistakes in manoeuvring.
The final game, SPACE CAVERNS, is another let-down. It's based on the popular lunar-landing games of the early eighties, except that you must negotiate your small craft through winding caverns to reach the exit.
The game looked quite promising - the first cavern is very colourful, and leads you to expect more of the same. But after carefully nudging the rocket boosters - full mass and inertia are applied to your ship - and reaching the far wall, disappointment quickly follows.
Screen two is no more than a jumbled array of coloured triangles, with none of the coloured stippling present in the first cavern. It shows that memory must have been tight, preventing more detailed screens from being stored.
But considering what phenomenal scenarios have been squeezed into Electron games, I find this a poor excuse, and felt quite hoodwinked.
In all, I found volume 3 of FOUR GREAT GAMES fairly average. It contains nothing to make it stand out from the crowd in a market which is steadily gaining respect in most quarters for surprisingly high standard games.
Sound ........................... 4
Graphics ........................ 6
Playability ..................... 6
Value for money ................. 4
Overall ......................... 4
Pete Fawcett, ELECTRON USER 5. 9