Yikes! Jaws on the Spectrum! it's enough to make you tiddle in your trunks! I mean nobody wants to tackle an amphibious maneater at the best of times, but now he's arrived on the ol' Speccy, you can't exactly avoid him, can you? Mind you, avoid him you must in this, the first game from new label Screen 7 (actually Martech re-launched, fact fans), 'cos if you fall in front of this fish's mandibles it'll be fangs for the memory for sure.
Just like Jaws the film (Steven Spielberg's first blockbuster), Jaws the game is set in the blood-stained waters around Amity island where a Great White shark has been attacking unsuspecting swimmers, the scamp.
You play Bordie, the island's chief of police and it's your job to rid Amity island of the Great White scourge before he ruins the tourist trade. You've already made a bit of a start on the task in hand, having signed up the services of Quint, a local fisherman. Hooper, an oceanographic expert, and a team of three divers. But unfortunately your clean-up campaign has already run into deep water, 'cos the equipment and gun needed to kill Jaws were lost in a reef off the island. So you and the rest of your team must collect the four pieces of the gun from the bottom of the reef (there's one to be found in each level), before going out to kill ol' razor teef himself.
You being this four level, maze like shoot 'em up bobbing on the calm blue water in your boat. This is the information screen which gives you up-to-the-minute wateher, shark and mayor reports. From here you can keep an eye on how well the mayor thinks you're doing, flick to a close-up of the map of the island (where you can close any beaches you like) or plunge into the murky depths below. It's better to wait around a bit, check the weather (if it's stormy or sunny Jaws seems to get a bit more active), wait for a sighting of the Great White, close the beaches near to where he was last seen and then dive in. Splosh!
Coo! it's another world down here, bobbin' along, bobbin' along on the bottom of the beautiful briny sea. Down you plunge in your diving bell, which spurts up cute little air bubbles at intermittent intervals. The underwater world of Jaws, see, is a flip screen, scrolling maze, shoot 'em up affair. Now it's time for dodging and weaving amongst the sea creatures. Blast them to kingdom come, picking up the bonuses, extra lives, points, invisibility modes and smart bombs they leave behind, and map your way through the maze-like reef in your search for the first part of the gun.
The animation of this mazey shoot 'em up bit is excellently done. Although your craft moves and fires fairly slowly through the deep (s'pose it's realistic) water, the sea creatures are bright and colourful, pretty fast moving and spray out deadly amoeba stuff in all kinds of wild and wonderful patterns. And the feeling that Jaws is always menacingly close is also well conjured up 'cos there you are, floating along, when all of a sudden you here 'daa dum, daa dum, da dum da dum da dum da dum' and one of the 15 swimmmers frollicking foolishly in the sea bites the sand. Cripes! Toggle back to the info screen via the space bar, check out where the attack took place and close the nearest beaches.
You have six men, so you get your six lives before finally having to give up your fight. You can play for points or prizes and as there are four levels to map and blast your way through, there's plenty of gameplay here. The graphics are good, the sound (on the 128) is nice, with the jaws tune and lots of phutty motor boat sounds, and all in all it's a fabbo start for Screen 7. Yes, I like it! Chomp!
A tasty, mazey shoot 'em up game with lots of other elements besides. A biting good game. Buy it!
Bobbin' along, bobbin' along. This is your ship. And there's your diving bell. Man overboard! Splosh!
Playing for points? Then keep an eye on your score box. Hmm! Looks like I've gorra long way to go.Phew! What a scorcher! This is your weather/temperature indicator. On hot and stormy days Jaws feels particularly hungry. So check this guage at the start of each game - it seems the frequency of Jaws attacks are dependent on it.This is the mayorometer. It'll tell you how pleased the mayor is with your performance. Looks like full marks at the moment.Here's a map of the island. When Jaws attacks, a little fin will appear in the area where he has been sighted. Toggle to the big map if you want a close look.This empty space show you how many pieces of the gun you've collected so far. No, I'm not crap, I'm just about to make my first dive actually!This shows the amount of time you have left before your air runs out. It's not as bad as it looks. Each diver has the same amount of air, so even if one pops his clogs from asphyxiation, the next one just jumps in right on after!Yer air pump, this. Yes, its still working!Curious this bit. This is the number of swimmers in the sea at any one time. It always starts off at 15 and decreases each time Jaws attacks one. I would have thought it better to just total up the number of attacks Jaws makes on swimmers starting from zero. Still, there's no accounting for taste, 'cept Jaws's of course!This little number here indicates how many of your initial team of six are left.
Oh I do like to be beside the sea... Blam, blam, blam. Cripes! Those flashing sea creatures just won't die unless I find a mega bullet. And where the heck is that piece of gun?