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Kevin J. Bezant
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Subtitled 'Ten Years After', 1984 is set in a nightmare world where computers trap people. You are Smiffy, and you've just about had enough of the Central Computer so you decide to go and switch it off. Naturally enough the computer has other ideas and plenty of defences like cameras that throw plasma bolts at you.

This is a platform game with lifts and numerous bonus objects as well as hazards on route. The various lifts have electrified bases, so stepping onto one has to be well timed In order not to fry, and the screens are constructed in such a way that several lifts have to be employed, or the same two several times. On each but the last two screens the object is to get the key and put it in the keyhole to get to the next level, and do this by jumping over the jellydroids (a trifle annoying) and avoiding the harmless but annoying eagle which carries you back to the beginning again if it catches you.

Each time you bump into a jelly droid or one of the pingpong plasma bolts some energy is drained. When this has gone a further contact results in an explosion.


'With three or four lifts, some going all the way, some only half way, some up, some down, this is a platform game with an extremely busy looking screen. Jellydroids, coiled springs and plasma bolts which bounce around like balls, mean that you can barely take a step without losing energy. The real skill lies in timing the jumps to and from lifts and fortunately Smiffy jumps very nicely. The game has a practice mode for all eight levels which seems a bit strange, because it means you can play with unlimited lives. The graphics are very inventive and brightly coloured. All in all, quite addictive.'

'I think this game has been carefully engineered to be challenging and it almost comes off. The problem is the eagle which /lies around and carries Smiffy back to the beginning. The game was difficult enough for enjoyment without that, but every time you get caught in his wretched talons you can sit back for a half a minute and wait until you're dumped back at the start. By the fifth time this happens you're about ready to give up on it. Strange that the practice mode gives you unlimited lives and lets you play all levels (?). Good reasonably smooth graphics, and plenty of playability, but the price seems way over the top to me for what it actually is.'

'Platform, jumping games do seem to be among the most addictive, and this one is no exception, although because of the practice mode I can' t see Its lasting value being all that good. After all, maddening as it may be, it's the fact that you want to get onto the next damned screen that gives a game its addictiveness. Here you can play any one you want. Good for time-pressed reviewers but not so good for the player generally. The graphics and sound effects are very good and the game is playable, but very pricey - and that's not such good news.'

Control keys: 617 left/right, 0 jump
Joystick: none, doesn't need it
Keyboard play: responsive, but watch out for jump timing
Colour: excellent
Graphics: varied, detailed and reasonably smooth
Sound: good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3 (officially)
Screens: 8
General Rating: A very good game spoiled by a few details and its price.


Screenshot Text

10 years after - coiled springs and ping-pong balls rule - OK?