Topo Soft
1988
Arcade: Maze
£7.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

64
Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

You can't beat an old formula, I always say. Take all the big hits. Where did they originate? Nemesis? Nothing but Defender with make up. Gauntlet? Pacman in wolf's clothing. Mad Mix? Pacman with a couple of graphical frills.

I think I can safely state without fear of being sued by US Gold; there is very little distinction between the two, other than the new version having nice, big graphics, a more than slightly cutesy feel, and a large scrolling play area, rather like a 2-D Pacmania.

The idea is to guide your little ball-like figure around a large scrolling wraparound maze, collecting all the little pills that scatter the pathways whilst avoiding the free roaming Ghosts who want nothing more than to spin you round and make you disintegrate.

To combat the ghosts, you are supplied with a limited amount of special pills, that do special things. (Snaff snaff - JD). The icon that looks like a set of vampire's gnashers effectively turns you into a vampire. Whilst in the form of a creature of the night you can do all the normal things, such as eat the pills, and you can also kill the ghosts by running into them. The Hippo icon changes you from a lovable little ball, to a cute and cuddly hippo. Sweet in every way, until it sits on you. Unfortunately you can't collect any pills when in this mode, but God help anyone who gets in your path!

As well as the basic maze, there are lots of extra features included within the game's many levels. Doors built like rockers block pathways and can only be opened from one direction. Of course, once opened, they rock over and have to be opened from the opposite side. Small gun tunnels transform your little Pac into a gun for the duration he's in the tunnel, so there's a little bit of blasty action to be found.

Also scattered about on some pathways are rows of icons with arrows printed on them. These route, along the direction of the arrows, and this can have you going in circles. There is no way to get off until you reach the end of the route, and if there's a nasty waiting for you there, tough luck.

There's a nice little tune to boot, as well as some blips and blops during the game. Apart from that, there's not a lot else I can say about the sound.

The game plays easily as well as it's arcade grandaddy. No, don't laugh, that's a good thing.

A lot of the old tricks still work well. Things like turning just before your reach a corner to get round it faster.

Mad Mix is a great game, despite the outdated idea. I was pleasantly surprised, and you've got to remember, it is the official PEPSI CHALLENGE game.

Label: US Gold
Author: Topo Soft
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Excellent rehash of Pacman. Plays great, looks great. I say get it.

78%
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