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Kevin Baker
Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K

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5 (Supplement)
Chris Bourne

INSTRUCTIONS to games which appear on-screen should be clear and uncluttered, especially if they are there to act as some inducement to play. In Chuckman from Add-on for the 48K Spectrum they are guaranteed to give you a headache if you look at them for too long, as the densely-worded page is backed by a multi-coloured checkerboard which flashes and changes about twice a second.

That makes it difficult to absorb them without reaching for the aspirin. Never mind, that is the only criticism of an otherwise excellent program.

The Chuckman is a skateboarding bomb disposal expert who must search the winding paths of a huge maze to find a toolkit. With that he can defuse the ticking time-bomb located somewhere in the labyrinth. That is not his only problem, since he needs to find food to maintain his energy, wheelbarrows of sand to fill the pits which block the way, and roller skates to ward off the giant boots which threaten his progress. A shovel is also handy to hem in the stomping boots.

Instructions apart, Chuckman is a finely-crafted arcade-action program. The pixel graphics are smooth and well-designed, with a fast response to the keyboard commands. There is also a Kempston joystick option. The Chuckman is a quirky little figure who, if you stop moving him, will stand hands on hips and tapping his foot. There are various status indicators beside the main maze screen and a map is provided, though it will show only part of the full labyrinth and will drain energy if used. The game should have very broad appeal.

Memory: 48K
Price: £5.95
Joystick: Kempston