1984
Arcade: Platform
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

55
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

OK, SO Software Projects only had a few months to come up with a 128 title but why pick Lode Runner? And why make so few alterations?

When I'd loaded the game I expected a melodious tune to waft from the television speaker and hundreds of very different rooms in this levels and ladders game. Instead the only sounds are bleeps and squeaks - admittedly using the 128's three-voice capability - and 150 rooms full of red brick, yellow ladders and gold blocks.

For those of you who don't know how to play - the plot is four-years old - here's the story. You are a highly trained Galactic commando who has ventured into enemy territory. You are after the gold which the power-hungry leaders of a repressive Empire have stolen.

The only way you can stop the magenta monsters is by drilling a hole in the ground. Then you can stamp on their heads using them as bridges over those holes.

Once you've cleared the gold bricks from one level a ladder extends off the screen and you can escape to the next. The final screen is the most artistic, though it is the easiest to complete. You'll probably never get there, however, unless you use the screen editing facilities.

The screen editor allows you to change and produce user-defined screens and save them to tape. The game can be made easier or more difficult, depending on the ladder and level system you set up.

It is also possible to try the new set ups you have made by going into the editor menu and typing in the number of the screen you want.

The only reason for bringing out this 128 game is to be included in the list of companies with products available for the machine. There is no music in the game and only minimal sound effects - which occur if you are killed by an alien or if you pick up a gold brick.

If you forget about the abysmal plot, substandard graphics, lack of music and predictability of each screen you could say that the game is addictive. Yes, you could, but I'm not.

John Gilbert

Publisher: Software Projects
Price: £9.95
Memory: 128K
Joystick: Kempston

***

3/5