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Tim Oldham
1985
Arcade: Maze
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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25
Chris Bourne

Jock, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dusty Bin, is stuck in the wrong time zone. You must help him return to his own time by collecting 32 time rings from each of the three time zones he visits.

Before you can enter a new time zone you must give the correct password and this is only given to you once the 32 rings from the previous time zone have been collected. Naturally this doesn't apply to the first zone or else you'd never get started.

Each zone has a maze protecting the time ring and Jock has to find his way around these mazes trying to collect the rings. He can move upwards, downwards, left and right. He also possesses something called a speed booster. This enables Jock to put on an extra spurt of speed to escape from the Time Guardian, but the power which he is given at the beginning of the game and which depletes gradually as he moves around, goes down a lot quicker when Jock is using his speed booster. However, Jock's power pack is regenerated at the beginning of each time zone.

Jock is not the only one interested in the time rings. They are also possessively guarded by the Guardian of the Rings who buzzes around the mazes in a variety of colourful disguises blocking the route to the rings. Any contact with the Guardian spells instant death for Jock. Well, actually it isn't instant as such because Jock is provided with nine lives at the start of the game. He loses a life every time he brushes against the various Guardians but he gains a life for every five rings he manages to collect. To make matters worse Jock only has a certain amount of time in which to gain possession of a ring because they become unstable in his presence. If he takes too long to get around a maze then the radiation level in the ring becomes lethal and he loses a life.

You can keep a check on Jock's progress by looking at the chart at the bottom of your screen. This shows how much energy Jock has left in his power pack. It also shows how many lives he has remaining and how many rings have been collected. You can also check the score: Points are scored for each ring collected depending on its colour. Extra points are scored for how much power Jock has left at the end of a zone.

Once Jock has negotiated his way around onetime zone and collected 32 rings from it then he can move on to the next one. A password is flashed up onto the screen which gives you access to the next part of the game.

The game ends when Jock has completed all three time zones and collected the required number of time rings. It is then possible for him to return to his own time of 2112 AD, no doubt for a refreshing game of the same name!

CRITICISM

'Not the usual type of jolly Atlantis software this, it would be quite easy to complete if you had a couple of hours spare and a lot of patience, but to tell you the truth I couldn't stand this one for more than twenty five minutes. The graphics are large but undetailed and quite messy. There are next to no sound effects, the most you can hope for during the game itself is a beep every minute when there is a ring to your room or an elongated burp when you lose a life. The one thing that pulls this game way down below average is its speed, it is so slow as to be monotonous from the start. Even for its cheapo price tag I wouldn't recommend this game as it is BORING.'

'This game would just about be passable if it were played at high speed. Unfortunately it plays ever so slowly and consequently becomes a real bore after the first one or two games. The graphics a re big but unimaginative and lack any detail and the sound boils down to a few burps. There are plenty of locations but they all look very similar and it takes an eternity to slowly trundle round them all. The fact that it sells at two quid doesn't make it worth buying - them are a lot of better programs available at the same price.'

'Another funny title for a budget game, but I'm afraid there isn't much in Jock and the Time Rings that hasn't appeared in any other budget game. It's very slow to play, even when you're moving in 'fast' mode. The characters tend to be too big to do anything detailed or accurate with, and the control is very heavy-handed, only permitting four-directional movement. This is a below average game. Jock looks as if he is a reject from One Man and his Droid, and the passages and the codes required for the next stage remind me of that game. I couldn't find anything special in it apart from the nice character set perhaps- but that's hardly a great selling point).'

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: reasonable
Use of colour: average
Graphics: big, fat and jolly
Sound: crummy
Skill levels: one
Screens: three time zones with 31 rooms in each
General Rating: A very boring and slow collect em up.

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