PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 8
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Types†††††††† : Arcade
Release Information††††††† : 1988: PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 8, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
Compilation Comprises†† : 1. WINTER OLYMPIAD '88, Tynesoft
††††††††††††††††† † 2. QUEST, Superior/Acornsoft
††††††††††††††††† † 3. AROUND THE WORLD IN 40 SCREENS, Superior/Acornsoft
††††††††††††††††† † 4. MR WIZ, Superior
Stated compatibility††† : Electron
Actual compatibility††† : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier††††††††††† : SUPERIOR/ACORNSOFT, 3 Manor Drive, Scawby, Brigg, NORTH
††††††††††††††††† † LINCOLNSHIRE DN20 9AX
Disc compatibility†††† : 1. Incompatible
††††††††††††††††† † 2. CDFS E00, DFS E00
††††††††††††††††† † 3. CDFS E00, DFS E00
††††††††††††††††† † 4. ADFS 1D00, CDFS 1D00, DFS 1D00
WINTER OLYMPIAD '88, Tynesoft's No. 1 Hit
Brilliant programming gives a realistic and exciting feel to the six events: bob sled, speed skating, ski jump, giant slalom and biathlon. "The game is good fun and really gets you into the spirit of the Winter Olympics"
QUEST, Superior's Smash Hit
Over 90 screens full of tantalising puzzles and curious adversaries. "Quest has the polished graphics of a first rate arcade game and the frustration factor of a top class adventure. What more can I say?"
AROUND THE WORLD IN 40 SCREENS, The No. 1 Hit From Superior
Forty superb screens of Repton action in Africa, the Arctic, the Orient, America and the Oceans - plus screen and character editors. "Repton has been let loose upon the world. Great fun for manic lizard fans."
...A & B Computing
MR. WIZ, Superior's Arcade Classic
Will Mr. Wiz out-run the gremlins? Will the zig-zagging crystal ball kill the blue meanie? "Exciting and colourful...I can honestly say that this game is magic."
Please see individual entries for each standalone title for complete playing instructions.
Review (Electron User) - "Sam Plays Doggedly On"
Good old SAM is playing it for the eighth time on Superior Software's latest arcade game compilation. The first of the four titles is Tynesoft's blockbuster, WINTER OLYMPIAD '88, which was a big hit with it was released for the Electron last year.
It's a strange game to include in a compilation, because it comprises six events - separate games - in itself. A maximum of four players can take part, or the micro can control up to three opponents, the object being to win as many medals as possible.
In each of the winter sport simulations you take part in three heats with your best result being compared against those of the other three competitors.
In Bob Sled you drive a two-man sled down a twisting course. The faster you speed through the bends, the further up the side of the run your sled is forced and, if you don't use your brakes enough, you're in for a tumble. If you go to the other extreme and use the brakes too much your time will be slow. A bird's-eye-view of the course showing your current position on it, is displayed in a window on the right of the screen.
Next event is Speed Skating where you provide the energy to drive your skater round a large rink by hitting two keys alternately to make him pick up speed. Unlike other keyhitting exercises, timing is just as important as speed. If you've got a good sense of rhythm you'll easily win this one.
Ski Jump brings out the Eddie the Eagle in you. The event starts off with a rear view of your man waiting at the top of the hill. Once the tone indicates it is time to start your jump, hit Z and X alternately to get up a good speed. Once that is achieved a side-on view of the jump is displayed and you continue hammering the keys to increase speed.
Finally, there is a close-up view of your jumper as he leaps from the end of the ramp and flies gracefully through the air. Using the C and F keys you must keep his skis aligned in order to gain style points and be rewarded with a perfect landing, otherwise it's an ignominious rear-ender.
The Giant Slalom gives a 3D diagonal view of a skier speeding downhill, and you use Z and X to make him weave in and out of suspended poles. It's not too taxing but I've never managed a clear descent.
For me, Ski Slalom is one of the better events. You're given a view from behind the skier as he descends the mountain you guide him between pairs of poles. Sounds easy? Well, some of them are off the screen and an arrow shows which way you must head.
The best is saved until last. Biathlon is a fascinating sport involving long distance skiing interspersed with rifle marksmanship. Moving your skier between target ranges involves rhythmic key pounding. If you get out of synchronisation you rapidly lose momentum.
The shooting is simple, the cassette interface clicks to indicate the rifle being cocked - a neat trick - then a cross descends from the top of the target down through its middle. You hit the spacebar at the right moment to score a bull. Failing to hit the target centrally results in a time penalty. There are five targets to hit in each group.
In all but two events - Bob Sled and Ski Jump - you can abort the second and/or third heats. After each event is completed, the medals are awarded and a medals league table is displayed before you go on.
The graphics in all six events are excellent. They move smoothly and are usually accompanied by simple but effective sound effects. Between events you are treated to a fairly pleasant version of the theme music to the BBC Television programme Ski Sunday.
The second full game in the SAM 8 collection is QUEST, an arcade adventure following in the footsteps of PALACE OF MAGIC. You guide the hero, Walter Cobra, around a maze of rooms looking for 12 power crystals and the Golden Dragon. Your most useful item of equipment is a pair of jet boots which are automatically activated in rooms with triangular objects in them, allowing you to fly across the screen.
Other compilations involve force fields and their power plants which need to be deactivated with stun grenades, and computer terminals which have messages that can only be accessed if you have the correct password. If you like tough adventures, this is one for you.
If you don't know who Repton is by now, where have you been? In AROUND THE WORLD IN 40 SCREENS you have to guide our little green friend around Africa, across the Arctic, America, the Orient and beneath the oceans.
Having wandered around these screens a little in the past I know they're competently designed and quite fun. The Oceans in particular has been put together by someone with a devious mind - the safe sprites are invisible. You've got the usual tune, of course, and the quality graphics.
The oldest game in SAM 8 this time is the Superior title MR WIZ which dates back to 1984. The scenario is simple, if a little bizarre. You must guide Mr Wiz around the orchard eating up cherries. Three nasties on the first level appear from beneath a mushroom and give chase. Normally they won't move through the earth, but will do so if they get annoyed.
Annoying them seems easy to do - just eat the cherries, or worse, their mushroom. You are not entirely defenceless, because you do have a crystal ball to throw at them. Overall it's a pleasant, smoothly programmed little game and, while the poor relation to the other blockbusters, it doesn't compare too badly.
SAM 8 is a reasonable collection although I've had enough of Repton. As usual if you lack just one of the games it's a good buy - if you're missing two or more it's a bargain.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
SAM compilations are superb and can't be bettered for quality of graphics, gameplay or value for money. For newcomers to the Electron scene they must be considered an essential buy, but old hands like myself have seen it all before. Yawn...
Sound ........................... 8
Graphics ....................... 10
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ........................ 10
ELECTRON USER 6.10