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Chris Kerry
1984
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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100,101
Chris Bourne

Third in the series of 'Jack' games from Thor, The House Jack Built is a lithe different from the first two Jack and the Beanstalk and Giant's Revenge in as much as it has many more screens and, more importantly, it plays differently because unlike the other two, you are not killed off by deviating from the very narrow, preset path.

The game takes place in Jack's house (he's obviously not poor any more), which has several rooms, some basement rooms and caves, a garden, a large maze, a roof which then leads onto the moon, where there are several more locations to see. The object is to go around and collect all the available objects whilst avoiding the ferocious house pets (or is that pests?). The score is by percentage of collected objects.

You always start off in the same room - the living room - but getting killed doesn't mean having to start over and you are returned to the 'death' location ready to start again.

CRITICISM

'The House Jack Built has very good graphics and sound (although it drives you barmy after a while). The characters move around well and the various scenes are well thought out and drawn. When you change rooms you must be ready for anything, as you are nearly always in immediate danger. I think Jack is the wrong colour as he tends to blend in with the background at times. Your pets are a bit weird as they do not always kill you. I thought this game was quite good, but I don't like the strong colour. '

'After playing the other two games and being a bit disappointed with them, I was all geared up to have a good moan at The House Jack Built, but I must confess that it's not what I expected at all - in fact it's quite good. The game is the same idea as JATB and GR but the 'routes' to get to an object aren't so pre-defined. The game is fun to play with plenty of rooms to explore. All the backgrounds of each screen are beautifully drawn, though colour isn't always used wonderfully because Jack is yellow and clashes with their strong colour. The game contains a good continuous tune that can be switched off if it drives you crazy. Overall The House Jack Built is a fun, addictive get - the object - that -is - in-the-most - difficult - place game, and worth buying. '

'I wasn't very optimistic about this game at first after seeing Thor's previous games on the life of Jack ' theme, but to my amazement this game is quite playable. This game is still very difficult but not half as finicky and precise as the previous two games. Graphics are of the same type, colourful and with attribute problems, also Jack himself is almost invisible - again... There are many more locations to see in THJB, all quite nicely drawn and fairly easy to get to. Objects to collect, of course, are very difficult and are positioned at a key point in the screen where all the pets meet and try to destroy you. There's no doubt that these three games from Thor look distinctly different to anyone else's, mostly because of the strong colours employed in the graphics, yet in a way it's as though too much colour has been used, which makes it somewhat tiring on the eye, and can be as bad sometimes as having too little colour. Much more playable and addictive than the two previous games if not yet as appealing as it should be.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/W left /right and O/K up/down
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: quite responsive, sensible keys, and better than with joystick
Use of colour: over use of colour, nevertheless, bright and cheerful
Graphics: detailed, varied and smooth, sometimes hard to see characters with colour dash
Sound: continuous tune and spot effects
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 4
Screens: 20 plus
Special features: Currah microspeech
General Rating: Two reviewers thought it was good, one thought it was average.

73%
78%
76%
76%
67%
68%
73%

Screenshot Text

Unlike the previous games no specific route is necessary.