Players Software
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

116
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

In a far distant solar system there lies a small planet, with a death entente hanging high above it in the skies. Once a thriving mining community, Anfractuos now orbits an unstable sun that is soon to explode. All humans have been evacuated, and the mines left to decay and fill with water.

In the mad race to leave this doomed world, a mining droid called Tobor has been left behind to fend for itself. If it's ever to escape, the droid must board the planet 's last remaining shuttle and blast off into space. The main problem is that the shuttle is without rocket fuel, and therefore eight cans of that precious liquid must be found and collected before he can leave. So, with the instinct for survival flowing strongly through his circuitry, the droid sets off into the depths of the mining world to begin his search.

Anfractuos mining base is made up of a series of multi-level tunnels connected by lifts and shafts. The droid jets up or floats down shafts, but must take care when using lifts - some are unreliable due to lack of maintenance, whilst others have no lower exit.

Tobor may be without human companionship, but he is certainly not alone. Creatures made up of negative energy particles live on Anfractuos, and they are as unfriendly as they are unusual. Contact with these causes Tobor's limited energy reserves to be drained. To protect itself Tobor can attempt to avoid them, or shoot and kill the creatures, but as they are a protected species points are deducted for their destruction. Should Tobor' s energy levels fall low, he becomes unable to jet upwards, and one of his four lives is lost if they fall to zero.

Whilst the droid can lose energy he can also replenish it. There are energy cubicles dotted about the planet, and by entering one Tabor's energy is rejuvenated. Points are awarded for the number of remaining droids and the extent of energy reserves at the end of the game.

Even if Tobor manages to collect the eight fuel cans, maintain his energy level and make his way to the shuttle launch zone, his task is still not complete. When the shuttle has been re-fuelled it is almost ready for blast-off, but first the four switches that retain it must be found and put out of commission. The shuttle's countdown then commences, and there is now limited time for the droid to enter the shuttle and blast off. If Tobor is not fast enough the shuttle takes off without him, leaving the poor little droid to end his days in the heat and horror of a supernova.

CRITICISM

'I've got the feeling that the programmers treated Anfractuos like a demo rather than a game - it certainly looks like one, there's a scrolling message, and raster lines have been shoved in at every possible opportunity. The gameplay suffers severely, probably due to very little or no play-testing. The action is marred by the constant threat of the game resetting, and parts of the map are decidedly dodgy. If you're a masochistic games player or you want to see your Spectrum doing something pretty then perhaps this is worth a couple of pounds - but I wouldn't really recommend it.' BEN

'Anfractuos is a strange piece of budget software, and it would probably have been quite good if there wasn't so many seemingly impossible locations. The individual characters are well drawn, but it's strange that the aliens don't have any collision detection, and very odd when they go back and forth through borders which you aren't allowed to cross. Perhaps PLAYERS' next game will establish them in the budget market but so far I've seen nothing of quality from them. Anfractuos is bare and unaddictive, and soon becomes quite boring.' PAUL

'As if there weren't enough budget arcade adventures on the market already, PLAYERS had to go and add another one to our already expansive collection - and unfortunately for them, Anfractuos is one contribution I can certainly do without. It 's playable enough for the first few minutes, but that's when the lack of addictiveness starts to pull at your nerves - and having to abort because you get stuck is one of the most frustrating glitches that any game can incorporate, and it' happens plenty of times here. PLAYERS have got a pretty poor sort of game on their hands here, and I wouldn't recommend it - even for a couple of quid.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/W left/right, D for jet, I for fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: lots of background colours
Graphics: particularly attractive characters, although fairly small
Sound: lots of spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: one vast map
General Rating: Could have been improved by some rigorous playtesting, as it stands it feels unfinished.

69%
53%
42%
36%
46%
46%

Screenshot Text

Tired out by his furious search, our hero takes a breather alongside the landing craft.