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The Power House
1987
Arcade: Maze
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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86
Paul Sumner, Kati Hamza
Chris Bourne

Treading the Dervish path to enlightenment involves a great deal of magic and mystique. The Power House provides the player with a chance to test magical skills as he battles through eight exhausting levels in an attempt to reach the Upward Path.

The quest takes place across a landscape of labyrinthine walls and vegetation. Choosing Explore mode allows a survey of the environment with no loss of energy, prior to embarking in Normal mode. The Dervish path is followed in the company of a series of hostile characters who attempt to hinder progress and drain the player 's energy by bodily obstruction.

These are combatted by three types of weapon (light, water and brimstone) which have varying effects on different creatures. pells, keys and potions are also collected to further the quest.

Weapon and spell supplies can be replenished at Aims Houses, represented by a diamond symbol. Entering one of these sees a cursor pass at random below a series of options, and pressing fire allows the selection of necessary supplies.

A map can be called up to show current position, while status displays indicate the type and amount of weapons left.

CRITICISM

'Treading the Dervish path, collecting spells and choosing weapons from a random selection - the gameplay is very similar to Firebird's Druid (a SMASH just over a year ago). There, however, the similarity ends. Uninspiring graphics give little incentive to explore: one landscape of scribbled flowers is much like another and soon begins to hurt your eyes. The Dervish hero spinning round and round like a top (similar to the Warner Brothers cartoon character) incites no sympathy at all. Unless you choose the Explore option, your energy depletes very rapidly; considering the lack of playability, this is probably a blessing in disguise.' KATI

'Graphically, Dervish may look quite appealing from a distance (say five miles), but when each character is examined closely it reveals itself to be crudely drawn, out of proportion and with flickery animation. The sound is no better, limiting itself to a simple tune with very few spot effects - most unimpressive. I will, however, compliment the programmer on the smooth scrolling - it may only be half the screen, but it's well done. You can forget any addictive qualities, however - it has none. It does have an Explore mode, though, allowing you to see most of the game without being any good at it! The whole product is very disappointing; I wish this was an exception to The Power House's rule - sadly it's not.' PAUL

COMMENTS
Joysticks: none
Graphics: close inspection of the characters reveals little detail and flickery animation
Sound: simple tune with similar spot effects
General Rating: As a freebie it would be disappointing.

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