Mind Games
1985
Adventure: Graphic
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

29
Chris Bourne

This game could have been called the 'Wrath of Rath' since that's what your going to encounter when you lose. The player is asked to suspend belief for a little while as he takes on the role of Paul McCartney who, through no fault of his own, finds himself at the mercy of the group's evil backer, Rath. It seems that Rath has put up the money for the group to record their new album but the master tape was accidently erased. The engineers have managed to piece together all of the material bar one track, 'No More Lonely Nights' which just happens to be the track intended for single release. Your problem is that there is no other way of putting the track back together other than relying on the memories of those who attended the original recording. Rath has given you until midnight on Saturday to recover and remix the track otherwise he will call in his loans and end up owning the the lot.

Broad Street could be classified as a strategy-arcade adventure, the strongest element being the strategy one. There are seven characters, all of whom will be able to recall some part of the melody, all that is required is for you to find them and gather up the song, then take it back to Abbey Road in order that you can re-mix it. (Abbey Road is, of course, the recording studio made famous by the Beatles and immortalised on an LP). The game is set in London on a Saturday so each of the characters will be doing 'their own thing'. You must read and learn the characters' profiles provided with the game so that you can and anticipate their movements and be waiting to meet them when they emerge from a tube station. For example, fairly early on in the game your car computer will tell you that George Martin has just arrived at Heathrow. Anyone who has just returned from a far and distant land must be in need of a wash and brush up, the character profile tells you that Mr Martin lives in London W8. Find the nearest tube station to his home (in this case it is Holland Park) and drive there as fast as you can, if you catch him he will give you part of the tune. Anticipating the movements of each of the characters is by far the hardest part of the game but you will need to learn the whereabouts of the important tube stations otherwise you will waste precious time looking them up on the map.

The screen is divided into four parts. For most of the time the upper two thirds is used to show a bird's eye view of your car and the road you are driving along. Using this screen, you must guide the car to the required destination. However, during the meeting sequence the action is shown in this upper section. The lower third is divided into three parts, the left side is the information being given to you by your car's on-board computer, it provides a picture of a character together with the name of the tube station that he or she is using. You will be told whether they are going in or coming out. The middle section displays a street map of the immediate area, a little blip shows your relative position. The right side of the screen gives the name of the tube station that you are nearest, the current time and shows how much of the tune you have managed to gather so far.

Driving the car round town will call for some pretty nifty finger work, you will find your car bouncing of a few walls before you get the hang of it. While a few bounces do no harm to your vehicle the other cars, some driven by Rath's hired thugs, will destroy it if you don't avoid them. If you lose a car, due either to a crash or your being clamped, you can always get a new one from Abbey Road but you will waste a lot of time. On arriving at a tube station you can select the meeting sequence and watch the upper screen display change. You will see yourself pacing up and down outside the tube station but don't expect to be able to stay there for ever, sooner or later a yellow striped parking vulture will appear and, if he gets to your car before you do, he will clamp it.

If you manage to find the seven characters and recover the lost tune your last task is to get back to Abbey Road and re-mix the song, but don't forget you are still racing against the clock. The problem at this stage is learning how to use the mixing desk, the instructions refuse to tell but instead give only a cryptic clue. If you haven't managed to put the song together by midnight then Rath will have his way and you, with your guitar, will be on them streets.

CRITICISM

'My first reaction to this game was one of absolute horror, how on Earth was I going to find out where all of these people where going, let alone how to get there before they did?. To be honest I still haven't had the time to suss it out completely. I thought the driving, though difficult, was particularly effective, I enjoyed being able to swan around London in a vain attempt to find my way about. The on-board computer was a great aid but most if the time it brought about a feeling of panic when I realised that I had missed a character, in my haste I ended up bouncing from wall to wall getting thoroughly frustrated. There is, however, a way to play this game without trying to anticipate people's movements about the metropolis - start the game and make a note of people's arrivals and departures, then restart and use your notes to find them. This is useful for the weak strategists such as myself, but I suspect that at the end of the day the failure to include some sort of random element in the game could prove its weakness. On the whole I have enjoyed it and when this issue has 'gone to bed' I shall purloin one of the Spectrums, sit in a corner, and finish it'

'I suppose it's quite unusual to have a car-based game where you drive around London looking for bits and pieces of your song, in a world where many other people are after the same thing. What I found difficult about this game was not just the enemy cars that are out to get you or the time factor, what I found most difficult was trying to find my way around the wretched place; with the names and locations of so many tube stations to remember. I think the strategic idea behind the game is good but being an all-action person, there doesn't seem to be a great deal in between A and B. Okay, there are a few cars to avoid but not much else. The street map layout is very good and not over complicated. It will take a very long time to explore all of the possibilities; although it takes a considerable amount of time to get into the rhythm of the game'

'This is the most attractive looking game that Argus have ever produced, and one of the most complex (excepting Alien). The programmers have managed to fit an extraordinary amount of London into it, and the simplified road map well resembles the real thing. But perhaps that's the main problem - if you know London then you have a head start, if you don't then you will spend a lot of time studying the map first. Initial impressions that this is a road type arcade game are soon dispelled, because the real task comes in learning about the band members you are trying to find, Frustration can be almost terminal when you dash to a tube station only to find the guy has slipped inside and is now reported emerging from another several streets away. A sense of achievement grows when you begin to spot ahead where someone is likely to be and get to the tube in time to meet them. The graphics are fine and I particularly like the way the car bounces off kerb stones. Broad Street, is not a game of a few minutes, and for me it is more playable than another which it vaguely resembles - Ghostbusters.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: A- forward and accelerate, Z to slow down N/M left/right, Space to meet, 0 to pause
Joystick: Protek, Kempston, Fuller, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: good layout and responds well
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: fairly fast and smooth
Sound: not much, although it plays a rather warbly 'No More Lonely Nights' during pauses
Skill levels: 1
Lives: game limited by time, about half an hour in all
Screens: smooth scrolling with one animated screen.
General Rating: An involving game that is both novel and well designed.

82%
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81%

Screenshot Text

Ah, found a band member at last, and lurking outside Holland Park tube as well.