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Reviews From TBI 150-9
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Product: ASTRO PLUMBER (Tape)
Price: 2.50
Supplier: BLUE RIBBON, Silver House, Silver Street, Doncaster
Tel: 0302 21134
IF you are a devotee of moving through underground caverns while trying
to avoid mutant monsters, then ASTRO PLUMBER is well worth looking, es-
pecially as it is firmly at the budget end of the market, available on
cassette for just 2.50
The scenario is the moon and you play the role of the plumber who
has recently arrived at Colony 11 to fix a rather leaky air supply sys-
What else would you use to mend leaking pipes but a plasma laser?
This does the job perfectly well but drains your oxygen supply rather
dramatically. Oh, by the way, I suppose they did tell you on Earth that
there are funny little sprites wandering around the system which cannot
be avoided?
At least you'll appreciate the rather nice jetpack they gave you, so
that you can fly over them, although again this drains the air supply.
Still, all is not lost because there are air tanks up on the surface
which you can plug into before dropping back underground to try to fin-
ish the job.
There are several screens - some with additional features like trans-
port pads which move you quickly up and down the system's levels.
There are a couple of snags including the rather long time delay be-
tween being killed and the magical reincarnation. This is further aggra-
vated by the fact that the monsters keep moving during this time, and
have an annoying habit of being too close when you reappear!
Generally, though, this is a fairly enjoyable game with no original
ideas, but plenty of excitement for younger players.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 7
Phil Tayler
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 7

Product: BUG EYES 2 (Tape)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: AUDIOGENIC, PO Box 88, Reading, Berks. Tel: 0734 303663
AFTER completing her mission to destroy the Xxabanean flagship, agent
Zelda was captured and imprisoned in the depths of a desolate asteroid.
You are agent Starman and must negotiate the asteroids defence
systems and find the 25 keys which are required to free her.
Neither the title nor the rather mediocre cassette cover do anything
to entice you to buy the game, which is a pity as the game is a stunner.
BUG EYES 2 could be summed up by the term "big is beautiful". Each of
the screens in this ladders and levels game looks like it has been
painted with a four inch brush.
The graphics for both the background and the sprites are big, chunky
and colourful.
The simplicity of each screen does not necessarily make the game
easy. It has been designed in such a way that you feel each screen is
merely a tiny portion of a larger unseen screen.
Some of these sub-screens are linked directly - for instance, falling
off the edge of a cliff will take you straight into the screen below.
Other screens are accessed via the lift shafts which riddle the ast-
On leaving the lift you are hoisted on to a Sinclair C5 and driven to
the next screen.
The reliability of this mode of transport is suspect as you occasion-
ally have difficulty starting the vehicle.
You enter the asteroid with five lives and a life is lost each time
your oxygen supply is exhausted.
You can fall from any height without suffering damage but contact with
an alien will deplete your oxygen supply.
The types of aliens range from huge spotted caterpillars to enormous
dinosaurs which fly with the aid of jet packs.
Playing BUG EYES 2 is relaxing and enjoyable, and for my money it is
one of the best games of its type to date.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 9
Carol Barrow
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Product: CHIP BUSTER (Tape)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: SOFTWARE INVASION, PO Box 86, London SW19 4TX.
Tel: 01-947 8876
IF you've ever taken a peek inside your Electron, you'll know that the
insides are very complicated, with the tracks between the chips very
hard to follow.
Software Invasion use this maze as the location for CHIP BUSTER, and
a very good idea it is too.
Having established this reasonable scenario they then decided to
stretch our credibility a bit - the maze is infested with bugs which
'byte' holes in the circuits.
You control a repair man whose job it is to keep the computer run-
ning. He has none of the usual tools to help him, not even a soldering
In fact all he has is a large hammer, which I'd have expected to do
even more damage than the bugs, but it seems to work for him.
There are three circuit boards to choose from - Electron, standard
BBC and B Plus. Contrary to real life expectations, these are apparently
very prone to faults.
There's no joystick option, so keys Z, X, * and ? are used to move
around. Press Return and the miniature electronics wizard starts hammer-
ing away to fix the holes or kill the bugs while they're chewing.
A damage report is available at any time by pressing D, and once
you've figured out where each named area is you can run off to the one
most in need of attention.
Should you fail in the alloted time, the compuer crashes and there
are more bugs and invisible tracks to liven up the higher levels.
CHIP BUSTER's sound options allow the exctuciatingly awful music to
be turned off.
Animation is quite good, scrolling by the screenful when you move to
the edge of the screen, and the colours have been well chosen for max-
imum clarity on a colour TV, but are less clear on a monochrome one.
Although cometently written, this really is a variation on the well
worn arcade maze game theme. I was a bit disappointed that more wasn't
made of a good idea.
However it is fast and fun enough to keep the youngsters amused for
a while.
Sound ........................... 2
Graphics ........................ 6
Playability ..................... 6
Value for money ................. 5
Overall ......................... 5
Nick Rhodes
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 7

Product: CITADEL (Tape, 3.5" DFS Disk, ADFS "PIAS1" Disk)
Price: 9.95
Supplier: SUPERIOR SOFTWARE, Regent House, Skinner Lane, Leeds
LS7 1AX. Tel: 0532 459453
THERE are now so many games available for the Electron that we are be-
coming spoilt for choice. Just occasionally, however, a real beauty
comes along, and for me CITADEL, from Superior Software, is one of
CITADEL is a role-playing quest game. A particularly evil dictator
has made his base in an old castle and built a teleport system there.
It will be used to transport his invasion force of aliens, and your
job is to destroy it. To do this you have to find five crystals hidden
in various locations in the castle and its surrounding lands.
Sounds very like a traditional adventure - but now for the arcade
bit. One room at a time is shown on screen, complete with your hero. You
have to guide him round, up ladders, down ropes, leaping over fires by
using conventional control keys Z/X for left/right, and so on.
Move out of the room in any direction and the next room flashes up
instantly. Useful objects lying around can be picked up and a lot of
extremely nasty creatures have to be avoided or zapped with a spell.
You need to be pretty quick with the control keys here.
CITADEL is great fun, and you need to play it to appreciate it. I've
spent four weeks playing nothing else, and still only solved half the
puzzles. Not only is it very enjoyable, it's also very difficult.
For me, it's almost the perfect game. You need arcade skill to move
your hero around the castle safely. You need logic to work out the pur-
pose of the various objects.
The game is well programmed, with excellent graphics and sound.
To sum up, as the old advert said, CITADEL is sheer enjoyment. Game
of the year, for me.
Sound ........................... 8
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ........................ 10
James Bibby
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: COMMANDO (Tape)
Price: 9.95
Supplier: ELITE, Anchor House, Anchor Road, Aldridge, Walsall.
Tel: 0922 55852
THIS is a game for the red blooded macho man who catches bullets in his
teeth and eats three shredded wheat for breakfast.
Armed only with an M60 machine gun and six hand grenades, you must
make your way far behind enemy lines, annihilate the enemy troops and
destroy their fortress.
COMMANDO is a clone of the arcade hit of the same name, and it's not
a bad effort. Using joystick or keyboard you can move the soldier in any
of eight directions and your bullets are always fired in the direction
in which you last travelled.
Hand grenades differ from bullets in that they are always thrown up
the screen irrespective of which direction you are travelling.
The action begins in a desert which is sparsely covered with trees
and sand dunes. As soon as you appear you must start running forward
while spraying bullets at anything which moves.
There's no chance of hitting any of your own troops as there are none
- this is a suicide mission for which you drew the short straw.
Having survived the desert you encounter your first obstacle, for
your foes are guarding a road bridge under which you must travel. Not
only must you beware of soldiers coming under the bridge towards you but
you must also avoid the hand grenades thrown by the motorcyclist who
rides to and fro across it.
Following another stretch of desert you arrive at a high wall with a
huge gateway. As you approach the wall the gate opens and tens of troops
rush out. These must all be killed before you are allowed to pass
through the gate.
The next expanse of desert is riddled with trenches from which little
men pop up and shoot at you. The game seems endless as you complete
screen after screen of hectic action.
COMMANDO provides the same kind of excitement I felt when I first
playedELITEmanymoonsago,andI shall go back to it time and time
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 8
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 9
Jon Revis
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Price: 8.95
Supplier: ADDICTIVE GAMES, 10 Albert Road, Bournemouth BH1 1BZ.
Tel: 0202 296404
FOOTBALL MANAGER, by Addictive, has to be one of the best strategy games
available for home computers.
As the manager of a football club you have to get from league divi-
sion four to league division one in as few seasons as possible.
The first screen asks your name and allows you to select your team
from the whole league. There seems to be little advantage in picking the
well known clubs as they are all dependent upon the skill of their
manager - you.
The team you inherit is then displayed, together with six pieces of
information on each player - playing position, number, skill rating,
energy rating, saleable value and status (either picked or injured).
From this screen there are a number of other options affecting the
game. You can get a display of your performance, beg for a loan from the
bank and even pay off loans.
You can change your skill level, change the team and player names,
save a game or restart a saved game.
Once you have done all the housekeeping from the first menu you have
an announcement of your next fixture, which might be in either League or
Cup competition.
Following this there is a readout of the comparison of the teams
giving ratings for energy, morale, defence, midfield and attack. This is
worth careful study as it is here that you can achieve the most valuable
changes by modifying your team.
Unlike the BBC version, there is no graphical display of the actual
matches, but it's none the worse for that.
I doubt that this game will ever be bettered. It is all it claims to
be and is very addictive to boot.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 4
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 7
Overall ......................... 6
Dave Carlos
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 7

Product: FRAK! (Tape, 3.5" Disk)
Price: 7.90
Supplier: AARDVARK, 100 Ardleigh Green Road, Hornchurch, Essex
RM11 2LG. Tel: 04024 41918
AT last FRAK! is here and Electron owners need be envious no longer of
their BBC Micro-owning friends.
Basically FRAK! by Orlando is a multi-screen ladders and levels
game. However the superb graphics make it stand out from the crowd.
The main character, which you control, is a large caveman, complete
with animal skin clothing, big belly and stubbly chin.
The aim is to collect all the objects - diamonds, keys and light
bulbs - scattered about the screen. This involves climbing ropes and
ladders and jumping from one platform to another.
The playing area is wider than the screen and when you get near the
edge the screen scrolls rapidly sideways.
This is a hardware scroll and since the Electron can only scroll a
minimum of 64 bytes at a time it's more like a jump than a scroll.
However you get used to it after a few games.
If this were all you had to do it would be an easy game. But as you
progress there are three types of monster to be disposed of; Scrubb-
lies, Hooters and Poglets.
They don't move but nevertheless they get in your way.
Fortunately, this caveman is rather adept with a yo-yo. Don't ask me
what a caveman is doing with a yo-yo. I haven't a clue. It's useful for
bopping nasties, though.
As well as bashing monsters you have to dodge balloons which float up
the screen and daggers which fly diagonally down. With a bit of practise
these can also be yo-yoed.
As a bonus there's a screen designer which enables you to edit any of
the existing screens or completely design your own from scratch. You can
add platforms, crystals, monsters, light bulbs and so on. It can be
tested at any stage so if it's not quite right you can easily alter it.
The finished screens can be saved to tape and loaded back next time.
The original BBC FRAK! is in Mode 1, the Electron version has been
converted to Mode 4. Although it's lost a bit of colour the graphics
actually seem better. The game is very slightly faster and less
FRAK! is one of the classics on the BBC Micro and is destined to be
one of the classics on the Electron.
No games collection will be complete without it, so start saving up
Sound ........................... 9
Graphics ....................... 10
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ........................ 10
Roland Waddilove
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 7

Product: GYROSCOPE (Tape)
Price: 8.95
Supplier: MELBOURNE HOUSE, 60 High Street, Hampton Wick, Kingston-
upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 4DB. Tel: 01-943 3911
THE scenario in this arcade style game is of a gyroscope, spinning and
falling down hills. You control it using the usual four keys for left,
right, up and down. Your aim is to steer it along narrow causeways and
into a little hole.
This may sound easy but most of the slopes are on a diagonal course
with precipitous hair-pin bends, which require skilful handling of the
control keys.
Magnets are strewn about the place to make your task more complex.
These turn your gyroscope into a whirling dervish, flying hither and
thither like a ball on a pin table.
As if this weren't enough, there are also aliens, hell-bent on
knocking the gyroscope over. They take the form of arm-waving ghosts,
sidewinder snakes, rival gyroscopes and fried eggs.
If the gyroscope falls off a path or is knocked over, you lose one of
your seven lives.
To complete the game you must master four routes, each consisting of
four screens vertically. The instructions promise a surprise when the
game is completed, but I've only mastered three routes so far.
The graphics are of a very good quality, with pleasing use of colour,
except for an unnecessary flashing at the start.
Sadly, a couple of problems spoil what could be a very good game.
Sometimes, a magnet captures the gyroscope and the game seems to freeze,
whilst emitting an irritating noise. It is also possible for an alien to
be at the spot where the gyroscope re-starts after falling over, which
means all seven lives can be lost. Such bugs should not appear in soft-
ware priced at 8.95.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 6
Playability ..................... 6
Value for money ................. 4
Overall ......................... 6
Rog Frost
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: JET SET WILLY (Tape, 3.5" T2P3 ADFS Disk)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: TYNESOFT, Unit 3 Addison Industrial Estate, Blaydon,
Tyne & Wear NEZ1 4TE. Tel: 091 414 4611
MANIC MINER was a ladders and levels game which graced just about every
home computer on the market. As with most successful games, it was
quickly followed by a sequel, in this case JET SET WILLY.
Having escaped from the mine, Miner Willy easted no time at all in
spending his new found wealth. After buying a mansion and yacht he de-
cided to throw a party.
The party is a wild success but the housekeeper is rather upset
about the aftermath. Willy is given an ultimatum: No sleep until all of
the debris has been cleared.
When you live in a 100-room mansion, that is some headache.
With Manic Miner, each individual screen had to be completed before
starting the next. With JET SET WILLY, there are no such constraints -
you, as Willy, can wander from screen to screen at will.
However, you will only be awarded points for collecting the objects
from the party.
When you load up the game for the first time you will see that you
are provided with eight Willies. This might seem to be very generous
but there is a problem.
Should you manoeuvre Willy into a position that will mean certain
death, he will die. He will then be reincarnated in the very same posi-
tion. Unless you have lightning reflexes then he will die again, and
again, and you will soon be minus several Willies. Once I lost all eight
Willies in under three seconds.
On several occasions, I entered the bedroom only to be shown the way
out by the irate housekeeper. What I can't understand is if Willy can
afford a 100-bedroom mansion, why can't he get decent staff?
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 8
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
Carol Barrow
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 10

Product: KARATE COMBAT (Tape, 3.5" DFS Disk, ADFS "SC3" Disk)
Price: 9.95
Supplier: SUPERIOR SOFTWARE, Regent House, Skinner Lane, Leeds
LS7 1AX. Tel: 0532 459453
MARTIAL arts games certainly seem to be popular at the moment, with
KARATE COMBAT from Superior Software adding to the available range on
this theme.
The game follows the usual format, with the scene set against an
oriental backdrop and the two players awaiting combat on the floor area.
The referee sits on the sidelines, ready to issue commands and keep
track of the scores.
The game provides three options - practice, single player and two
players. Practice mode gives you the opportunity to knock spots off a
stationary punchbag. In this mode it is possible to practise all the
available moves - and there are quite a few - without the worry of being
smashed to the ground by your opponent.
The single player option lets you play against a computer-controlled
opponent. To see your opponent jumping, rolling and kicking with extra-
ordinary speed and dexterity is enough to send you scurrying back to the
practice mode.
The third option allows two players to compete against each other,
which probably gives you more of a fair chance than playing against the
There are sixteen different opponents, and each victory gives you a
crack at a new one. If you manage to beat the final opponent, known as
The Master, you can enter a draw to win a hundred pounds and a trophy.
The game may be played with either keyboard or joysticks, but using
the keyboard is quite tricky due to the number of keys used to cover all
the available moves. Joysticks are a much easier option.
The graphics are colourful, smooth and flicker-free. Sound effects
are also provided, with the option to toggle these on or off.
I can't get very excited about these martial arts games, but never-
theless this version is as good as any I have seen.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
Geoff Turner
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: MAKE SAM SMILE (Tape)
Price: 9.95
THREE separate packages, Counting, Word Matching and Spelling are de-
signed to help with the first steps in learning to read and count.
Each is divided into three or four sections with activities relating
to the growing skills of the children using them. All have superb
graphics and a most appealing format.
Number recognition, learning to count and an introduction to simple
addition are all included in the activities of the first package,
As with the others in the series this program features Sam, a
friendly little chap who's very sad, but easily pleased by getting the
right answers to his questions.
There are four games in the counting program. The first two require
you to match numerals with a number of objects. In Game 1 a random num-
ber of croaking frogs, wriggling worms, skipping girls or barking dogs
is displayed. I've discovered eighteen different shapes so far.
The numeral cycles through from one to ten. If the number matches
then Return should be pressed. If not, the spacebar should be used.
Game two is similar exceot the numeral stays constant but the number
of objects cycles through from one to ten.
Games three and four display two sets of different objects, and the
total number has to be matched with the numeral. This activity is a
simple introduction to the concept of counting.
It is most important that these programs are carefully introduced to
a child by ana dult. The various aspects of each game are not really
apparent from the screen display and the child needs to be shown what to
Changing from one activity to another is achieved by pressing a func-
tion key but there is no prompt on the screen to tell you when to do
I turned to the Word Matching program next. It has been designed to
encourage the child who's just beginning to read. Objects are displayed
on the screen and they have to be matched with the correct word. Again,
this program only requires the use of the Spacebar to reject a word, and
Return to indicate the correct answer.
The character Sam enters the screen and draws an empty box and a fam-
iliar object with the word for the object above it.
In Game one words are placed randomly in the box until the correct
match is obtained - the child is matched word to word.
Game two requires the child to remember an object word that is flash-
ed on to the screen and match it correctly as the words are shown in
Game three is the same but no dots are displayed after the object
word leaves the screen. In all three, incorrect responses cause suc-
cessive letters of the answer to appear.
The voacbulary is restricted but although the number of words is lim-
ited the quality of the graphics is very high.
An interesting feature is a caterpillar that crawls along the bottom
of the screen. Each correct response causes it to crawl a little further
until it reaches a leaf, then a butterfly emerges and flutters back
across the screen. That piece of graphics is a real credit to the prog-
Finally I tried out the Spelling package. This could not be introduc-
ed to a child until the rudiments of word recognition were mastered. The
vocabulary is a subset of the Word Matching program and so forms a good
follow up exercise.
However, spelling is a far higher level activity than the word match-
ing exercises and care should be taken that the child is ready for this
type of work.
John Woollard
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 6

Product: MOUSE TRAP (Tape, 3.5" DFS Disk)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: TYNESOFT, Unit 3 Addison Industrial Estate, Blaydon
NEZ1 4TE. Tel: 091 414 4611
IT is often said that there are only three or four types of computer
game - mazes, ladders and levels, invaders and adventures, and that the
majority of software fits into one of these categories.
Tynesoft's MOUSE TRAP is nothing new and slots neatly into the second
Although the format is familiar and holds no surprises, it is, never-
theless, very well written, enjoyable to play and quite addictive.
You take the part of Marvin the mouse, an athletic little rodent cap-
able of leaping round the screen from platform to platform in his quest
for cheese.
There are 22 different screens to master. On each, there are several
different objects to collect, some looking remarkably like Christmas
Somewhere on the screen there is a closed door, usually in the most
inaccessible corner. Collect all the puddings and the door will open.
If you can make it in time you can walk through to the next screen.
The difficulty lies in the placing of the levels and the various
nasty objects which fly around the screen.
There are teapots, cups and saucers, bottles of poison, witches on
broomsticks, fireballs, bombs, fried eggs and many more.
To make matters worse there's also a time limit, so if you hang about
too long wondering which way to do you'll run out of time and lose a
You have eight lives, but they disappear all too quickly.
MOUSE TRAP is an excellent multi-screen levels type of game. It is
difficult so I wouldn't recommend it to beginners.
But if you're looking for something more challenging than the usual
run of the mill game look no further. MOUSE TRAP will keep you occupied
for weeks.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 8
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
Roland Waddilove
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Price: 9.95
Supplier: MIRRORSOFT, Maxwell House, 74 Worship Street, London
EC2A 2EN. Tel: 01-377 4600
I HAVE found all the Mr Men programs to high quality and of real ed-
ucational value, and STORKMAKER is no exception.
This package, comprising two programs, is a real delight to use. It
is designed to enable 3 to 6-year-olds to create their own stories on
the screen.
I must admit that I've only used it with very young children. However
their enthusiasm was astounding.
The first program is picture and word based with six carefully staged
levels. The second introduces the concept of sentences and is definitely
for the older children. The first program can be used without words -
the scenes are created using icons.
Both programs enable stories to be created with six different sett-
ings and a choice of eight different Mr Men.
They can do eighteen different things and have six different moods.
In addition the weather can be set to one of six choices.
The graphics are very good and appear on the screen instantaneously.
The different weather conditions are not particularly inspiring - the
snow is very disappointing.
The package includes an attractive booklet which can be used by older
children to help them enter words and design scenes.
Facilities that are available in the software include the ability to
reduce the volume level of the sound or to switch it off completely.
Thankfully, pressing Break does not destroy the program but simply re-
turns you to the start.
I can thoroughly recommend this software to any parent wishing to
introduce young children to computers. It can also be used by early
readers as a source of reading material and the focus of written work.
Full marks to the Mr Men!
Sound ........................... 8
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ........................ 10
John Woollard
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: MUSIC MAESTRO (Tape)
Price: 14.99
Supplier: MUPADOS, Llambed Industrial Estate, Tregaron Road, Lam-
peter, Dyfed. Tel: 0570 422877
PRACTISING on musical instruments can be a bit of a bore. You sit alone
in front of your music stand and listen to your own squeaks, scapes and
bad notes.
The aim of MICRO MAESTRO is to put some of the fun back into the bus-
Three different packages are available and you can choose between the
version for keyboard instruments, concert pitch instruments such as re-
corder, trombone or stringed instruments or the version for B flat inst-
ruments. These include trumpet, clarinet and French horn.
Whichever version you opt for, you will get two cassettes plus a
small booklet which tells you how to use the program. One cassette con-
tains the software and the others has soundtracks of the music used.
The tunes are Ghostbusters, Happy Xmas (War is Over), Chariots of
Fire, Superman, Dress You Up and Hello.
Loading the software will put the first tune into memory. You can
then select from a number of options.
Firstly you may display the music on the screen one page full at a
time. Next, the computer can play the music for you so that you can
play along it.
The musical notation is printed on the screen as you do this in a
big, bold and clear form. It has its own way of scrolling which you soon
get used to.
You can adjust the tempo so that it suits your stage of learning. You
can also add a visual beat counter and a bouncing ball which marks the
note currently to be played.
With growing confidence you can turn the computer sound off and play
the music yourself with ot without the beat counter and bouncing ball.
As a final touch you can play along with the audio cassette which has
two versions of each tune, one being just the backing.
Pressing Break returns you to the main menu from which you can select
a different piece of music in either treble, alto or bass clef.
This is a worthwhile package. However, it is limited to the tunes
supplied with it and the poor quality of the audio recordings rather
spoiled the effect.
I would suggest these packages, which run on the BBC B and Electron,
are more suited to the school music department, where may pupils could
use them, rather than to the individual.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 6
Overall ......................... 6
Rog Frost
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Product: NIGHTWORLD (Tape, 3.5" DFS Disk)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: ALLIGATA, 1 Orange Street, Sheffield S1 4DW.
Tel: 0742 739061
NIGHTWORLD is an arcade style adventure game where you guide explorer
Lee Lance around the different screens by jumping on to platforms and
avoiding the nasties flying around at random.
Exits are at first quite obvious but as the game progresses you have
to find hidden passages which take you on to further screens.
The solid triangles help you increase your score, but beware, greed
is often fatal.
The format is not new but there are some unusual additions. After a
set amount of time you are changed into a gargoyle.
This gives you super powers, imminity to the nasties, and the ability
to jump twice the normal height.
Instructions are brief and concise. I think a few hints and tips on
where to look and what to look for would have been an advantage.
As it is I have not yet been able to find out how to replenish my
I was not addicted to this game, but if you like arcade adventures
you will find it interesting and different.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 6
Overall ......................... 6
David Richards
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Product: PHANTOM COMBAT (Tape)
Price: 9.95
Supplier: DOCTORSOFT, PO Box 66, East Preston, Littlehampton,
West Sussex BN14 2TX. Tel: 0903 770044
DOCTORSOFTs PHANTOM is not one of your run of the mill flight simulator
The cassette carries two versions, one running in two colour Mode 4
and the other in four colour Mode 1. The former is slightly faster.
The game loads quickly, building up to comprehensive cockpit display
of instruments, unique in that some information is given in analogue
form as well as digital readouts.
I found that once the short but comprehensive instructions had been
read and noted, flying the aircraft was a comparatively easy task.
In the training mode the scoring is inhibited and crashes at super-
sonic speeds into the runway are allowed.
You can have two or one joystick operation plus keyboard. I found
that one joystick plus keyboard for the other controls was the best
In the Form mode, which is automatically entered above 12,000 feet,
the enemy aircraft are controllable from the keyboard should you desire,
and can be shot down in combat or used to practise formation flying.
The combat mode does not allow target control, but the scoring is en-
abled and kills are logged. Should you get to the stage where your own
aircraft is so badly damaged that it can no longer be flown, the Escape
key allows you to eject, preserving your score.
The aircraft flies true and is very manoeuvrable and the enemy a real
threat, as I found to my cost shortly after starting.
Full marks to Doctorsoft. PHANTOM is better than I expected and well
worth the money, whether you are a computer flier or an RAF pilot of the
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
Dave Richards
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 7

Product: PRIMARY TIME (Tape)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: ALLIGATA, 1 Orange Street, Sheffield S1 4DW.
Tel: 0742 739061
TELLING the time has never been easy for children. These days they can
get meddled with the mixture of analogue clocks and digital watches.
PRIMARY TIME from Alligata is designed to help children from about four
upwards to overcome the problems and become expert time tellers.
The format of the program is very simple. A clock is drawn with its
hands set to a random time. The same time is also displayed in digital
form. Five possible answers are given and the user to select the
correct one.
The program starts with an instruction page indicating which keys
are needed. It then waits for a name to be entered.
Next comes the main menu from which various options can be selected.
The simplest only gives o'clock times and then come half pasts, quarters
and minutes.
On the o'clock times the computer beeps the correct number of times
as an extra help. As for all options, the possible answers are written
up the side of a grandfather clock. The cursor that has to be moved is a
mouse. Unlike some time-telling programs, this one does not require pin
point accuracy when selecting an answer, which makes the package suit-
able for young children provided they can read.
A pleasant touch is that if the clock shows 1 o' clock the mouse
falls down with a musical flourish.
Ten questions are set on the chosen option. Correct answers are re-
warded with a Well done. If the child makes a mistake, he or she is
given the correct answer. A score out of ten is given at the end.
The graphics make good use of the Electrons high resolution capabil-
ities. They are rather slow because the program is written in Basic.
The various sounds are pleasing enough, but there is no option to
turn them off.
The programmers obviously understood the nature of small fingers. The
Escape and Break keys are programmed to re-start the sequence. It needs
a Ctrl/Break to exit the program.
One minor problem is that the correct answer flashes once when it
appears. I don't think many children would notice this.
Children between the ages of four and ten who need help with telling
the time could benefit from using this program. The younger ones will
need help from a friendly adult. If used sensibly, this is a valuable
and worthwhile program.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 8
Rog Frost
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: SHUFFLE (Tape)
Price: 2.99
Supplier: BUDGIE, 1 Orange Street, Sheffield S1 4DW.
Tel: 0742 739061
SLIDING block puzzles are still a popular pastime for children and
adults alike. This offering gives a choice of fifteen different pictures
for you to sort out.
The basic idea is that a picture is drawn on the screen, divided into
squares, and these squares are then shuffled. Your task is to get them
back into the correct order and so re-make the picture.
There are three levels of difficulty. At the first level the picture
needs only a few moves to get it back in order, whereas the third level
will require many more.
The sound, which is simple but meaningful, can be turned off if re-
quired. You may mark the edge of any square with lines if you wish.
The pictures range from sequences of letters or numbers, through pic-
tures of houses or flags to a series of patterns. All are pleasantly
coloured, and a lot easier to complete with a colour television.
One of the spiral patterns is very difficult. It makes use of flash-
ing colours and looks like nothing on earth until it is completed.
Technically the program is very good. My main gripes are that the
keyboard repeat is left on and the choice of keys is unusual.
There is, however, a First Byte joystick option within the program
and it works with a Plus 1 joystick too if you use the Joyplus program
in the Electron User for April 1985.
This is a worthwhile program, with many interesting features. At the
easy level, it could appeal to five-year-olds, but the flashing spiral
takes it right through to Einstein standard.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 8
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 8
Rog Frost
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Product: SHUFFLE (Tape) Supplier: Budgie
A sliding block puzzle of the traditional type. You have to unscramble a
puzzle made up of a number of blocks, one of which is a blank. There are
two sets of control keys. One set moves the blank and the other moves
blocks into the blank. The idea is to solve the puzzle in the fewest
possible moves and the shortest possible time. There are eight different
puzzles with three levels of difficulty.
Electron User Software "Quick Peek" From Vol. 3 No. 3

Product: SOUTHERN BELLE (Tape)
Price: 7.95
Supplier: HEWSON, 56B Milton Trading Estate, Milton, Abingdon
OX14 4RX. Tel: 0235 832939
WHEN steam locomotives were popular, many schoolboys had ambitions of
becoming engine drivers. Even adults who were not steam engine fanatics
often dreamed of taking control of a real train.
Now, with SOUTHERN BELLE, you can re-live those days and try your
hand at being a steam engine driver in the comfort of your own home.
The ultimate aim if to travel from london to Brighton taking your
place on the footplate of this King Arthur class locomotive. A menu has
seven options, including a demonstration run, various practice options
and a problem run.
The demonstration run automatically engages after a minute and you
would be well advised to watch this. It gives you an idea of the feat-
ures and terrain you are going to meet.
A leaflet explaining the principles of steam locomotion is included
in the package.
The demonstration over, you should spend some time on the training
When you have mastered the training, and it will take a while, you
can move on to more challenging schedules such as the record breaking
run set on July 26th 1903 at 48 minutes 41 seconds.
You must keep to speed regulations and be careful not to derail when
going round bends - a regular occurrence in my attempts.
The screen is built round a central window containing a 3D graphic
representation of the track, surrounding countryside and the footplate.
The information display includes a digital clock, water, coal, and
speed indicators, and a typical railside signal. There is also an indi-
cation as to your current position along the line.
The passing countryside and stations are depicted using 3D wire
graphics. Unfortunately they aren't very smooth, jumping in big blocks
as the train moves forwards, particularly when travelling at speed.
Sound is kept to a minimum and consists mainly of suitable hissing
noises and the inevitable whistle.
The program is certainly original. As an attempt to provide something
new, it succeeds and I enjoyed reviewing it, if only for that.
This game should certainly be a hit with railway enthusiasts and sim-
ulator fans, but whether it will catch on with arcade addicts only time
will tell.
Sound ........................... 8
Graphics ........................ 6
Playability ..................... 6
Value for money ................. 6
Overall ......................... 7
David Andrews
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: STAR DRIFTER (Tape)
Price: 3.95
Supplier: FIREBIRD, Wellington House, Uppser St. Martin's Lane,
London WC2H 9DL. Tel: 01-379 6755
THE first thing that strikes you about STAR DRIFTER is the sophisticated
loader complete with twinkling stars.
The game allows you to define the keys you wish to use to move
around, fire and pick up or drop objects. Other options include sound on
or off to spare the rest of the family, and freeze/restart, which I al-
ways find useful to rest my aching fingers.
This is the latest in the current vogue for graphics adventures. Set
in a maze of passages on board an ancient starship, your task is to un-
cover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the other members of
the fleet. The walls of the passages are covered with strange equipment
and messages, not unlike Egyptian hieroglyhics.
You soon find that you are not the only creature on board the ship,
which is filled with a variety of small, colourful and deadly alien
lifeforms, each of which will try to rob you of your vital oxygen
supply. When you've picked up the gun you can gain points for zapping
them as you travel round the ship.
The graphics are nicely done, as good on a colour TV as a black and
white one. The spaceman moves fast and smooth, though it must be said
that he slows somewhat when the screen is full of agitated aliens.
Some of the passages are blocked by walls which can be blasted, and
others by force fields which repel you unless you are carrying the
correct two keys.
Only three objects at a time can be carried, and the instructions
suggest that you should start by returning the radio to the bridge to
enable communication with Earth.
The limiting factors are three lives and the oxygen supply, so to
solve this game you'll have to keep very busy.
STAR DRIFTER needs more thought than most space action games, and it
should help bridge the gap between these and text adventures.
All in all I quite liked it, even if I didn't get very far. It's well
written and the package has been well produced.
Sound ........................... 4
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 8
Overall ......................... 7
Nick Rhodes
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Product: STARMAZE 2 (Tape, 3.5" Disk)
Price: 1.99
Supplier: MASTERTRONIC, 8-10 Paul Street, London EC2A 4JH.
Tel: 01-377 6880
THE idea in STARMAZE 2 is very simple - you are lost in a maze and your
task is to escape. Regular watchers of BBC TVs Adventure Game will
know the idea, but in this version there are no puzzles or passwords.
The only problem is finding the exit.
You travel around the maze by moving forwards. When you want to
change direction you may turn through 90 degrees left or right.
You don't see yourself - just a view of passages and junctions. These
are neatly drawn and give a real impression of three dimensions.
The bottom of the screen is devoted to a status display which shows
how long you've been stuck in the maze, how much energy remains, your
position and how far you are from the exit.
Maze sizes - your choice - can vary between a small 5 x 5 up to a
large 12 x 12 matrix. Large mazes are quite difficult to solve, but if
you get really stuck, the computer can draw a map of the whole maze.
This program suffers from a number of drawbacks. The first is that it
is very slow. It takes some 10 seconds for the computer to work out what
you are looking at and then draw it.
Secondly, the mazes lack interest. Certainly they are random and
different each time, but they tend to consist of long straight passages
with very few junctions.
Finally, the games ending is very weak. A congratulatory message
just says "You've done it" while a dull five note tune repeats itself.
If you haven't got a maze game you could consider this.
Sound ........................... 3
Graphics ........................ 7
Playability ..................... 6
Value for money ................. 7
Overall ......................... 6
Rog Frost
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Price: 6.95

Supplier: MELBOURNE HOUSE, 60 High Street, Hampton Wick, Kingston-
upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 4DB. Tel: 01-943 3911
THIS is the best adventure game I have yet seen from Melbourne House.
The object of the adventure is to go on holiday with your family to
Spain, taking ten photographs while you are there. All the photographs
have to be taken in the right places and it is up to you to find out
where they are.
You start at home. A taxi is due soon to take you to the airport and
you must search the house for the things you will need in Spain and get
your family together before it arrives.
On arrival you check in at your hotel (make sure it is the right one)
and change into more suitable attire before visitng the local shops.
An exploration of the nearby beach will lead to a rewarding encounter
with a shark.
You should now sample the nightlife, though the red light district
has nothing to do with developing your photographs.
You will find that three coach trips are laid on so remember to take
your camera. A colloquial insult will help you to find the missing
passenger at the monastery.
The problem that I get asked most is how do you avoid being killed by
the bull?
This is solved by remembering that you do not need to protect your
head at the moment and by allowing it to break some crockery.
As is immediately apparent from the title, the adventure is very
tongue-in-cheek. Unlike HAMPSTEAD, where the humour seemed laboured,
TERRORMOLINOS hits the right note every time.
Presentation .................... 7
Atmosphere ...................... 8
Frustration factor .............. 8
Value ........................... 7
Overall ......................... 8
Paul Gardner
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 10

Product: THE MOLE CONCEPT (Disk)
Price: 9.95
Supplier: BBC SOFT, 35 Marylebone High Street, London W1M 4AA
THIS package in the Secondary Science series breaks new ground by being
in the format of "computer synchronised audio".
This means that a tape commentary - spoken by Fred Harris - is played
while the software runs. The two are kept in step by the simply method
of pressing a key when Fred tells you to.
The programs are disc based only. In fact the driver is kept very
busy throughout the presentation which lasts about half an hour. During
that time, you will be stunned by the beautiful graphics that your com-
puter can produce, seemingly instantly.
The package aims to teach or reinforce the chemists rather special-
ised concept of a mole. To him it is a unit of measurement, not a furry
animal. This is achieved by tutorial sessions followed by questions.
When used with pupils aged 15 to 16, there seems to be a good
balance between teaching and questioning and the novel presentation of
the information encourages them to solve the problems.
If any pupil finds questions difficult then a worked answer is given
on the screen.
The topic is covered thoroughly during the presentation, with domes-
tic and industrial applications brought in.
In fact, long after Fred Harris has finished talking you can still
be carrying out titration simulations and working out the molarity of
The accompanying booklet implies that this software should be used
by individual students. Many schools would not be able to afford the
computer time for this, but in fact the software works well with groups
of pupils.
However it is used, there can be little doubt that students on an O
level or CSE chemistry courses will benefit from this software.
These pupils enjoy the novel format, the interesting voice and a
touch of humour, not to mention the really lovely graphics. The learning
they achieve is almost a side issue, but in fact a lot of knowledge
sinks in.
This is a program that chemistry teachers really should find time
for. It is a positive aid for pupils in coming to terms with this diffi-
cult idea.
Rog Frost
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 6

Price: 9.95
Supplier: MELBOURNE HOUSE, 60 High Street, Hampton Wick, Kingston-
upon-Thames, Surrey KT1 4DB. Tel: 01-943 3911
KARATE may be old news to the box office, but with all the new games
coming on to the computer market, one has to be the winner - THE WAY OF
The scenario, two men locked in combat presided over by a Buddha and
a monk, is simple, but it demands great skill and concentration to reach
the goal of 10th Dan by fighting and defeating your opponents.
One or two player modes are available, each with a very different
challenge to offer. In a one player game it is best to defeat the com-
puter with the utmost speed and precision within the time of 30 seconds.
For each two fights won you progress one Dan.
The point system showing how you are faring is made up of the Yin
Yang symbol, awarded in full or half sections. Two full Tin Yang symbols
are needed to defeat each opponent.
In two player mode, four 30 second bouts must be fought out, the
winner being the player with most points.
The keys are well placed at different ends of the keyboard though
there are eighteen moves and ten keys to cope with.
The variety of moves seem endless, with kicks, jabs, blocks, punches
and somersaults. This game is definitely the best of the karate simul-
The backdrop on the proceedings gives one a feeling that the program-
mer put as much effort into it as with the detail on the two characters.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 8
Giles Lane
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

Price: 7.95
Supplier: TYNESOFT, Unit 3 Addison Industrial Estate, Blaydon
NEZ1 4TE. Tel: 091 414 4611
WINTER OLYMPICS is another of the several-games-in-one variety. Six
winter sports are covered and the aim is to beat your best score in a
snow-bound hexathlon.
The first event to flash up on the screen is speed skating. In this
you take your competitor along a 200 metre course as quickly as possi-
ble, while the computer operates a pace-making opponent above you.
You move your player by rapidly hammering the Z and X keys, while a
clock ticks away at the base of the screen.
The second event is the ski jump which works like the first event in
that the faster you hammer the further you jump.
Event three is the ski slalom. You have to guide your skier down a
slope, zig-zagging through the gates as quickly as possible.
Then comes downhill skiing. No gates this time, just a full pelt down
the slope, trying to avoid the fir trees that are scattered about. This
is extremely tough and I still haven't completed the course.
Event five is the bobsled, and the formidable Cresta Run. The course
is mapped out on the right of the screen and in a box on the left is
your view from the sled.
Gravity provides the acceleration here, and the Z and X keys are used
as brakes.
Lastly comes the Curling, which is probably the most disappointing
event. The aim is to get your four stones as close as possible to the
centre pin, while your opponent does the same.
Unfortunately, there is no allowance for colliding. This it is impos-
sible to knock a stone out of your way - you just stop short of it.
Overall this is a nice little package and fun to play. The graphics
are quite good, sound is used well and the Electrons clock has never
been so useful.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 7
Overall ......................... 7
James Bibby
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 9

Product: WORDPLAY (Tape)
Price: 9.95
Supplier: BBC SOFT, 35 Marylebone High Street, London W1M 4AA
WORDPLAY is an original and innovative idea, attempting to introduce the
complex ideas of word processing to young children through the use of
animated icons.
These animal icons, rejoicing in delightful names like Selina Seagull
and Petronius Pelican, show the child in an amusing and educationally
valid manner the various options available in a word processing program.
The icons are permanently displayed at the bottom of the screen below
the text window which can display at any time nine of the 33 lines of
text possible in the file.
However there are a couple of areas where I feel the program is less
than user-friendly and where children may be easily confused.
My chief criticism is reserved for the left and right justification,
made by Eve the Elephant and Boris Bear.
Boris tidies by pishing the left margin, but only from column two or
greater, and leaves a ragged right result.
The elephant, however, then right justifies back to the first column
by tugging, often leaving very large gaps in the text, large enough for
words to be included from the line below.
I am not convinced that children will really appreciate how useful
word processing can be from this program, although the excellent booklet
will prove an effective tutor.
Sound ........................... 6
Graphics ........................ 8
Playability ..................... 7
Value for money ................. 7
Overall ......................... 7
Phil Tayler
Electron User Vol. 3 No. 8

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