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David Simon
1984
Card Game
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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94
Chris Bourne

Exciting Intelligent Game hard To Stop playing (once you've started) - says the loading screen. That isn't the reason, however, for calling this reasonably well known card game Eights. The game is for one player against the computer. From the standard 52 card pack, the computer deals the player and itself seven cards.

The player may decide whether to go first or second. Your seven cards are shown 'face up', the suits in a vertical row and the denominations ranged to the right of them. The remaining cards from the dealer pack remain on the table as a pick up pack. The object of the game is for the first player to lay down a card on the discard pile. The second player must then lay down a card of either the same suit or the same denomination as the first player's card. It is then the turn of the first player to lay down a second card - and so on. If a player has no suitable card he must pick up from the deck, and continue to do so until a useable card is collected.

Any card with a denomination of eight is 'wild'. An eight can always be played, and then the player may specify the suit which his opponent must play next. The game continues in this fashion until the deck is finished, with the last cards indicated by a number telling you how many are left. If you cannot go after the deck is finished, you may pass a go and hope to be able to follow next turn. The game ends when one player has got rid of all his cards. The winner's score is determined by the added values of the cards held in the opponent's hand. A series of games are played until one player reaches a total of 100 points, when the scores are displayed for each.

The screen layout shows the score lines and information box at the top. This shows the game number, skill level being played (there are 5), scores and entry box showing what is being played to the discard pile. In the playing area the discard pack is shown with the last card played visible, next to it is the pick-up deck. Above are the blank backs of the computer's hand, so you can see how many cards it holds, and below are your cards held in the hand. Entries are made by key press, usually a dual entry such as '6C' for six of dubs.

The inlay has a note on the computer cheating, pointing out that the game would be unplayable if it did - so it doesn't!

CRITICISM

'Eights has a somewhat uninteresting inlay cover, which is a pity because it holds no hint of how interesting the game actually is. In fact I would go as far as to say that this is the most interesting card game implementation I have yet seen for the computer. A lot of this has to do with the fact that the game itself is an interesting solo type game, but it also reflects the way the program has been done. Everything moves quite fast and the graphics are clear and easy to understand. I would say that Eights is a worthwhile addition to any collection, to while away some of those empty moments with a hand of cards, and it doesn't cost that much more than a good deck anyway.'

'Card and board games have been fried on the computer many times, but often seem to fail because in the end it is much easier to drag the real game out and play it rather than play it on the computer. But Eights seems to have overcome that problem. The screen layout is excellent - clear and to the point, the playing cards are well drawn, and decisions are made quickly. The card game itself is very playable, and overall great value for money.'

'This is one of the fastest simulated card games for the computer I've seen. Some of the earlier Pontoon type games suffered from not having all the proper features of the game, but Eights seems complete and the computer plays a mean game even on level one. Card simulations are perhaps not the most vital of computer games, but this is a good one and at only £2 seems well worth buying.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: denominations use numerics to 9 then T,J,Q,K and A. Other keys are for the suits, C,S,H,D and D is also used to draw with X to pass
Use of colour: can't really go wrong, but very nicely used
Graphics: sharp, clear, well designed
Sound: not much, just warning beeps
Skill levels: 5
General Rating: An excellent card implemenatation, being an interesting one-player game with the computer and good value for money.

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73%

Screenshot Text

No King to follow a King, but you do have the Queen of clubs to play.