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Mastertronic Ltd
M.J. Child
1985
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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17
Chris Bourne

It will not escape your notice that the name KP Skips is plastered all over the inlay and even the game, it's all part of a promotional tie up between said KP and Mastertronic. Clumsy Colin is the star of the KP Skips promotional campaign, has stepped off the front of a Skips bag to mount his Action Bike for the duration of this game.

Colin has a friend called Marti who needs to be taken to the local spaceport. A spaceport may seem a little out of place but it seems that Cohn is having a bit of a dream. In this dream he must find Marti, but at 8 O'clock he will wake up to the bitter clanging of his alarm clock.

Marts must be found before Colin wakes up but Colin's first task is to get some extra equipment together. Problems. First, he needs extra equipment if he is to find his friend you know the sort of thing, a periscope for example. His motorbike will be very useful but alas it also needs add ons. Colin must collect these extras from his friends to improve the bike's performance. The more auxiliary equipment he has the easier the task becomes.

An example perhaps? This particular town has a great many oil spills, there are mini oil slicks everywhere. If Colin's bike runs into one then he is going to spend a lot of time spinning and generally falling about. The answer, of course, is a better set of tyres. Out of the 150 houses in the town only 50 contain anything of value. When you think you have found a useful house you can enter it and, from the from the birds eye view on the screen, examine its contents.

Your progress is frustrated by people not being in when you visit, or if they are in they may tempt you with a cup of tea. It you stay you are wasting valuable time.

Out on the streets, life is fraught with dangers, the worst being the other traffic. When you collide with another vehicle this will lessen the amount of time left for sleep and if you crash too often, Colin will wake up and that will be that.

Apart from the crash damage you must keep an eye on your fuel. The amount you have is shown on screen, and you can top up your tank from the garages in the town. Scattered about the streets there are packets of Skips for you to pick up, each one gains you a point. A record of the score and high score is kept and presented above the amount of sleep time remaining.

CRITICISM

'Action Biker has inter-game pauses that are far too long. The game itself is pretty decent and scores well for value for money, While it was playable I can't say that I found it addictive. I was also disappointed with both the sound and the degree of control one had over the bike. It was really very difficult to change directions at junctions, for instance'

'Action Biker seems to following along with the trend for arcade/adventure games. I am not over keen on the presentation of the screen, a lot of space has been wasted. The sound was annoying after only a short time. Has the potential for being a good game but does not quite make the grade'

'I don't like this game at all. I find it very hard to play and unrewarding to boot. The graphics are poor by Mastertronic standards: there's a lot of flicker, no smooth movement and characters seem quite able to vanish for a while. The other vehicles made the game very frustrating. Before you even get a chance to move from home you are attacked and lose sleep points. I found it very hard to find and enter a house, mostly because the instructions that came with the game are so vague.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: N/M left/right, A/Z accelerate/decelerate, SPACE to change gear
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Fuller, Cursor
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: below average
Sound: very limited
Skill levels: one
Lives: one
Screens: scrolling
General Rating: Disappointing.

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