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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K
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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

In City Slicker you combat the forces of urban terrorism (as represented by a very dodgy racial stereotype Sprite in the shape of an Arab ie, it's got one of those cloth things over its head) and try to prevent the houses of Parliament being destroyed by a bomb.

Not an objective I found it very easy to identify with.

Even more difficult to assimilate is the fact that City Slicker is, superficially, yet another Manic Miner game.

In fact, my first reaction on seeing it was of horror. I thought games like this had been relegated to the budget ranks long ago.

It isn't that simple, however. City Slicker is by the people who brought you Technician Ted which got mixed reviews but sold in zillions mainly because what the reviews hadn't realised was that whilst the game looked dull, it had a lot of clever puzzles, some of them fiendishly difficult.

City Slicker is pretty much the same. Its failings are similar and it might easily be dismissed but when you come to play it - well it's quite good fun. A sort of Jet Set Willy meets Spellbound in that your time is equally divided between working out how to jump over obstacles 'leap over the penguin when it nearly reaches the cherry then quickly drop down the whole screen whilst turning around...' and working out what object you can pick up does what 'having got the herring I should now be able to open the box and get the lathe to make the key to the door...'

The plot is all about assembling a bomb deactivator device. The various unlikely parts of the device are strewn around London as it would look if it comprised 50 caverns. Between some areas you can take the tube and thus rest your weary feet from all that intensive jumping.

Then there is this terrorist whose arrival is indicated by weird noises from your Spectrum. In fact there are dozens of odd little things, that redeem this game no end.

The graphics are well - how can I put this - they look like almost every single one of the Jet Set gang. There are telephones, cute little guards (beefeaters actually), 100 ton weights, platforms, sudden gaps, indescribable blobby things in fact the complete 'how to make a Jet Set Willy game' kit of sprites. They don't flicker too much, though there is the occasional attribute clash.

I quite liked the birds in Trafalgar Square whose air to ground bombings must be avoided on pain of death and was impressed by the poor herberts - people - you can pick up and treat as an 'object' dropping them from great heights on to nasty objects for example. The main virtue of the game is its puzzles, however.

In the cheat sheet handed out to reviewers, the solution to getting the first part of the deactivator ran to two pages.

I can't say this sort of thing fills me with much joy but for some it'll be game of the year.

Label: Hewson
Author: David Cooke and Steve Marsden
Price: £8.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Jet Set Willy meets Spellbound well-worn game ideas that shouldn't be entertaining yet somehow are.