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CRL Group PLC
1988
Utility: Game Editor
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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36
David McCandless
Chris Bourne

Let's face it, I went wild when this package hit my doorstep, but so would anyone who's ever tried to get to grips with Melbourne House's 'cos anything's gotta be better than that for DIY game-making. Hasn't it? Well hasn't it??

Well, no! 2D Game Maker is definitely worse. It starts with a demo game with a fair number of screens being loaded along with the designer into the Spectrum. The graphics are of a reasonably high standard and the animation is very smooth. Unfortunately, it's all bad news from then on. The only thing that moves is your character, so the quality of animation isn't surprising and the scrolling messages are trite - even if they are a nice touch. Objects picked up once reappear next time you reach the screen, so at least you can build up reasonable scores.

The demo is the graphic adventure type where you have to pick up objects and use them in other rooms. You pick up the objects by accessing a menu using the 'Function' key. But the function appears to be 'Zap' 'cos all I ever managed to achieve was a complete crash. Also beware entering names for saving/loading your game designs (another bug in my book) since too long a name causes the program to crash back to Basic.

The default cursor keys are the familiar Q, A, O, P and M for 'fire'. Keys 1-5 are used in the object design screens, and allow some of the functions to work with a joystick.

But to add to the user-unfriendliness of the thing, the QUIT option of some menus is absent in others, so to get back to a previous level, you have to start from the beginning and work down again. In the screen design function, each time you want to place an object the menu comes up again - which makes for really slow screen design. All in all, there's a noticeable lack of continuity between the menus, how you get to them and what to do once you get there. At least the icons on the main menu bar are somewhat recognisable.

After a short while, it is soon apparent that the only games that can be created are ones very much like the demo - platforms or flat graphic adventures - so the possibilities are absolutely endless if repetition turns you on. The 'fire' key is entirely pointless as the only moving sprite is the controlled character, - so no shoot 'em ups.

And there you have it. A cumbersome, highly complicated utility for creating pretty but boring games. Avoid, avoid, a thousand times avoid.

Designer boredom. A utility involving 3D effort to create 2D games of 1D possibilities. Perfect for masochists.

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