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1985
Arcade: Maze
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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19
Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

YOU'VE got to admit it - Sandy White has class. He's the programmer who wrote the magnificent classic Ant Attack for Quicksilva, and he's back again with his old boss Rod Cousens. I Of the Mask is the result, and Sandy is obviously pursuing his own style as independently as ever.

The game is a maze quest in which you have to collect the parts of a robot - 17 in all - in order to win the Space Trials of Newgama III. The parts have to be collected in the right order, and are contained within 32 universes located throughout the maze. Each universe has three crystals, one containing the part, one taking you to another universe, and the third dumping you in another part of the maze. Your score is increased each time you collect a part, and decreases with time. If you get the wrong part, you lose a life.

Your tiny spaceman is dwarfed by the towering walls and, when you turn, instead of the usual switch between two frames, the whole scene turns with you, lurching wildly until it reaches what passes for balance again. It's the stuff of nightmares.

The robot parts are extremely difficult to recognise at first, and you must use a combination of sensible guessing and simple trial and error to work out which you should go for first. That makes the first few games fairly arbitrary, but as you recognise the first few collectable parts, the rest becomes easier through elimination. In general, the crystals form an efficient means of travelling swiftly through the maze, but do not put you where you expect. It can be very hard indeed to reach the appropriate universe - and if you have run out of ammunition you will not be able to shoot down the part.

Although there's obviously much strategy and skill involved in the game, it does become a little repetitive. Luckily, the power of the graphics save it from becoming totally boring, but we should have preferred to see rather more variety all the same.

Chris Bourne

Publisher: Electric Dreams
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Cursor

****

4/5