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DK'Tronics Ltd
Ed Hickman
1984
Arcade: Action
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

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71
Chris Bourne

DK' Tronics have generally tended in the past to write good introductions as to the objectives of their games, but the recent releases have suffered with little or no explanation. Hard Cheese is a case in point, where a game starts without aims being made clear and where the scenario is obviously too complicated to sort out easily. The danger with this is that players can run out of patience before tapping the game's potential.

Apple Jam is another example. In this case there are no explanations at all. It Is, in concept, a very simple game, and the broad intentions of the author are immediately clear, or rapidly sorted out, but as at least one reviewer found, points of the game still baffle.

Basically, the screen has a lift at the left, a sauna box at the right, a jam dispenser in the middle, overhead, and above that, a conveyer belt which produces apples. In a lower portion is a rat tunnel.

The screen also shows the game score and the hi-score, three purple pills and the words RAT BAIT! A little man is made to run back and forth.

He opens his mouth when correctly positioned under the dropping point of either Jam or apples. Each time he gulps down another mouthful, he grows a bit fatter. To work off the excess weight he must enter the - sauna for a few seconds and when he comes out he's all slim and wonderful. If he fails to go to the sauna each mouthful after a certain point, it loses him one of the purple pills. When all three have gone he dies.

Below in the rat run, the rats are running. Should the man miss any apples or Jam, they fall through and the rats eat the food. Once this has happened they tend to come up a floor and eat the man. He can escape by getting into the lift, but that means missing more food. Should you do really well against these miserable odds, there's a giant hornet to watch out for.

CRITICISM

'A non-violent game for the younger games-player, that's my impression. There's a fair use of colour and the character block graphics are smooth and fair in quality. It's a nice touch when an ambulance comes up to collect the dead hero after being rat-bitten, but I think they cheated by having it back-up - it could have driven forwards and turned around.'

'This game made me feel quite dense - it looks simple, it is simple, but I couldn't work out what was going on at all. I never found out what the RAT BAIT! was for, if anything, and someone had to tell me what the pills were for. I had figured out what the sauna did, and became obsessed with my hero's figure. Consequently my opinions are somewhat coloured. On the whole, a rather poor game.'

'The odds have been stacked up too high to make this into an addictive game. Once the rats emerge you never have a chance to catch more food, or sweat it off, and it all becomes pointless. It is, anyway, very repetitive.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: 5 & 8 left & right
Joystick: Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: responsive
Colour: fair
Graphics: reasonable
Sound: poor
Skill levels: 1
Lives: endless, but three pills
General Rating: Poor on instructions, a game for younger players with a limited addictivity.

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47%

Screenshot Text

Open wide those pearly gates and let the jam pass in.