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SKIRMISH

 

 

Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only

 

Game Type          : Arcade Classic Joust Clone

Author             : Delos D. Harriman

Standalone Release(s)  : 1988: SKIRMISH, Go-Dax, £9.95

Compilation Release(s) : 1990: PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 12, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95

Stated compatibility    : Electron Side A, BBC Side B

Actual compatibility    : As stated

Supplier            : GO-DAX, 12 Chiltern Enterprise Estate, Theale, BERKSHIRE

                    RG7 4AA

Disc compatibility     : CDFS E00, DFS E00

 

 

Instructions

This classic flying combat game is set in a fantasy world of medieval knights and strange birds.

 

The enemy knights always play, with either one or two human players. Beginners are recommended to play in pairs, so they can help each other, and experts may enjoy the extra challenge of a human opponent.

 

Player 1 wears yellow armour and rides on the light blue ostrich. Player 2 wears white armour and rides on the pink stork. All of the enemy knights ride on green buzzards: the Bounders wear red armour and are fairly stupid; the Hunters wear light blue armour and are more cunning; the Shadow lords wear dark blue armour and move the fastest.

 

When an enemy rider is killed, an egg is produced. If the egg lands safely on one of the six rock ledges, then it will hatch into another rider. It will not hatch if it falls into the lava or a player catches it.

 

When a player is killed, his new life rises up out of one of the grey energiser pads located on the rock ledges. Until he moves, he flashes and is immune to attack. These are the same energisers from which enemy birds appear at the start of each wave.

 

On WAVE 3, flames burn away the bridge over the lava pit.

 

On WAVE 4, the Lava troll appears as another flame above the lava. Any bird flying too close will be caught by his hand and pulled down into the lava, though it is possible to escape with rapid flying.

 

WAVE 5 is the first Egg Wave. Egg Waves begin with just twelve eggs scattered on the rock ledges.

 

From WAVE 6 onwards, the rock ledges will begin to disappear. These screens give more freedom of movement, but require different tactics.

 

WAVE 8 is the first Pterodactyl Wave, though you may meet him in earlier waves if you take too long killing the enemy knights. The 'unbeatable' Pterodactyl kills human players on contact. He will fly away when all the enemy knights have been killed.

 

In TEAM WAVES, each player gets a bonus of 3,000 points for not killing the other player.

 

In GLADIATOR WAVES, the first player to kill the other gets a bonus of 3,000 points.

 

In SURVIVAL WAVES, the player gets a bonus of 3,000 points for not losing a life during the entire wave.

  

Prepare to Joust, Buzzard Bait!

 

Game Controls

 

BBC Micro                                                       Electron

f4 ....................... Start 1-Player Game ....................... 1

f5 ....................... Start 2-Player Game ....................... 2

f1/f0 ........................ Sound On/Off ........................ 4/3

f2/f3 ........................ Pause On/Off ........................ 5/6

ESCAPE and RIGHT CURSOR ....... Quit Game ...... ESCAPE and RIGHT CURSOR

 

Movement Controls

There are just three controls: Left, Right and Flap. Each player has a choice of keys. Choose the combination of keys which suits you best.

 

BBC Micro                                                       Electron

<CAPS LOCK> or W ............ Left - Player 1 .............. <CTRL> or W

+ or UP CURSOR .............. Left - Player 2 ........... + or UP CURSOR

 

<CTRL> or E ................ Right - Player 1 ................... A or E

* or DOWN CURSOR ........... Right - Player 2 .............. * or <COPY>

 

<TAB> or S or D ............. Flap - Player 1 .... <CAPS LOCK> or S or D

@ or [ or <RETURN> .......... Flap - Player 2 . P or UP CURSOR or RETURN

 

In the 1-Player Game, any combination of the Player 1 and Player 2 keys may be used. For example, in the 1-Player Game on the BBC Micro, CAPS LOCK could be used for Left, CTRL for Right and RETURN for Flap.

 

Joysticks may be used on the BBC Micro version of the game, but not on the Acorn Electron or Master Compact versions. Press the Joystick 1 fire button to start the 1-Player Game; press the Joystick 2 fire button to start the 2-Player Game.

 

 

Instructions' Source   : PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 12 (Superior/Acornsoft) Inner Inlay

 

Review (Electron User) - "Battling Buzzards"

Imagine a world in which you sit astride a giant ostrich and engage in medieval-style jousting contents with opponents riding giant buzzards. This is the setting for JOUST, Atari's smash arcade hit.

 

It sets itself apart from most other games by taking the idea of a two player game one stage further - you play not only against another human player, but also against a number of other computer opponents. Thus half a dozen combatants can be on the screen at once.

Now we have SKIRMISH, a superb conversion of this arcade favourite. Once loaded, three landing stages are displayed and you are invited to start the game.

 

I found that the player sprites look rather messy because of the crammed-in detail. Aside from this minor point, SKIRMISH faithfully re-creates all the addictive qualities of the original.

 

The controls are simple: Left, right and flap. The last control causes your bird to flap its wings once. Press it repeatedly to hover and faster still to gain height.

 

SKIRMISH features three different types of computer controlled rider - the bounders, wearing armour, are fairly easy to defeat, the Hunters are more cunning and the Shadow Lords are almost impossible to dismount.

To win a joust you must fly into an opposing player making your lance is higher than his. A vanquished human opponent loses a life and reappears somewhere else on the screen.

However, a computer opponent falls off his mount and turns into an egg, while his riderless buzzard flies off into the distance. You must grab the egg quickly or it will hatch, spawning a rider of the next grade.

 

If your lance is lower than your opponent's, you will die and your bird will fly mournfully away. You soon learn to fly to the top of the screen as quickly as possible, but even this commanding position is by no means safe.

 

When all the computer controlled riders have been defeated the next wave stage begins. Later stages add even more nasties: The lava troll that stalks along the bottom of the screen ready to grab any foolhardy contestant who comes too close. And the indestructible pterodactyl that flies backwards and forwards until the wave has ended. The pterodactyl can appear on earlier waves if you take too long to dispose of your opponents - give it lots of air space.

 

SKIRMISH provides all the useful features that make all the difference to any good game: Pause/restart, sound on/off and quit game are all included. I can recommend it wholeheartedly - and it's even better if you have a SLOGGER Turbo board fitted.

 

It is one of the most playable games I have seen this year and will certainly lead to many late nights. To quote the loading commentary: Prepare to joust, buzzard bait.

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

Graphics ........................ 7

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

Value for money ................. 8

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

Martin Reed, ELECTRON USER 5. 7