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Micromega
Stephen J. Redman
1985
Arcade: Action
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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46
Chris Bourne

We have had to wait quite a while now for a Micromega release, and A Day in the Life represents something of a departure for the company.

There must be a finite limit to the developments a software house can make in games technology, given a particular machine, and Micromega have certainly gone a long way. Now with this new game there seems to be a sense of looking back, for A Day in the Life is not a super 3D advance, but actually a mixed collect-and-run game.

You play a very familiar character, no less than Clive Sinclair - definitely plain Clive, because the object of the game is to keep him alive long enough to get to the palace to be knighted by the Queen. The action takes place over 13 screens of varied action. As it is a day in the life, the game starts out with Clive getting out of bed.

Throughout the game you have to collect one object to make a second appear, and when that has been collected you can exit the screen. On the first it is a coat, then the door key. The screens are laid out in such a way that a circuitous route is forced upon you, while objects or people get in your way or kill you off.

After a screen or two you may notice that in some respects this game does have a development in it - it is a story told in pictures. Once out of the house Clive has to visit a couple of shops before going to the station to visit the Autobank, go back to collect his forgotten umbrella, then dash onto the already leaving train. The train takes him to another station which is dangerously crowded to visit another shop to buy a copy of the Financial Times and back to the train before it leaves the station. Each screen has its own time limit, in the case of the last two it is the slowly departing train - will you make it in time? The train disembarks at a London station, not far from the Underground, but first there is the busy bar to visit, the bank and fast food joint before dashing for the Tube to the Palace.

The moving objects on each screen are so arranged to move in patterns, bouncing off each other in unpredictable ways to make life harder. Quite often it takes a few moments to suss out actually how to move about the screen. Should you survive to the Palace you will be rewarded with a lowering of the royal sword and a knighthood.

CRITICISM

'I admit to a soft spot for Micromega after giving us wonderful games like Deathchase, Full Throttle, Code Name Mat and others, so you can imagine my sense of letdown when I loaded Day in the Life and saw what looked like rather old fashioned, even boring graphics, and found that the game was incredibly simple in play. What had happened?! On screen one 1 felt like screaming - the movement of Clive is very finicky and you have to position him precisely. Old fashioned and frustrating, I thought. But the strange thing is that after playing for about half an hour the damned thing began to grow on me - and not just because of Micromega. Actually, Day in the Life turns out to be an amusing, difficult and strangely attractive game. Attractive in the sense that the graphics are very unusual, well drawn and although not massively animated, there is a lot of detail in them. 'You', Clive, are just the well known, bearded face - very characterful in fact. Well I can't in all honesty say that this is the follow up from Micromega to all those other titles I listed before, but it is still a different and interesting game which requires some patience at first and a deal of timing skill to get through.'

'It's unusual for Micro-mega to put out a game like this, they usually deal with hi-tech space age games. But then again, l suppose you've got to part from the theme at some point. At first glance at this game it looks very boring to play and unattractive. Playing the game reveal a few more items - quite a few things to do to keep you busy, but nothing terribly exciting. After playing the game for about an hour l became quite bored with it. Moving Clive about is a very fiddly lob and you need to be precisely positioned to get into the gaps, which does become frustrating when you constantly lose lives. The graphics move very smoothly at varying speeds, they are well detailed and quite colourful, but don't seem to add much to the game. Continuous (if you can call it that) music varies in speed depending on how many characters are on screen - not very good programming. To sum this game up it is definitely not up to Micromega's high standards, and although I found it quite playable I would not recommend it- l have come to expect more of Micromega.'

'Normally Micromega games are a joy to play but A Day in the Life doesn't rate as well as their other games. The graphics are poor and not a patch on the graphics used in Full Throttle. Sound is all right but nothing to shout about. The game isn't playable and certainly not addictive. This is really a big disappointment coming from Micromega and I hope they never release another game like this!'

COMMENTS
Control keys: user-definable, four directions needed
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, Cursor type
Keyboard play: responsive, but finicky in movement
Use of colour: good, bright colours on a generally white ground
Graphics: above average
Sound: continuous but jerky beep music
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5
Screens: 13
General Rating: Slightly mixed feelings, but generally felt to be above average.

85%
69%
50%
75%
51%
52%
59%

Screenshot Text

Clive leaps off a comuter train to by some essentials from the shop, but there's never a C5 around when you need one.