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Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

There was a time when Serge Danot's 'Magic Roundabout' was almost compulsory viewing on BBC in the late afternoon. The simple stories told in that quiet, matter of fact voice just worked. With computer game versions of telly series all the rage at the moment, it comes as no surprise to see Magic Roundabout appearing The title screen contains all the well known figures from the series like Brian the snail, Mr. McHenry, Basil, Florence, and scrolls to keep Dougal in the middle. Apart from sugar lumps, there are the familiar red trees, and of course Dougal's other friends from the enchanted garden. If he bumps into any of his friends, however, he loses a life, and after three, it's time for bed.


'This is a simple collect and avoid the nasties game (yes, Florence, Brian and even old Zebedee and of course the hero of the piece, Dougal. The object is to guide Dougal in his task of building a house of sugar cubes before it's time for bed. The sugar cubes dot the landscape, but the house must be built by pushing the cubes to the magic toadstool. Sugar also forms his diet (dentists take note!), and to keep his energy from falling too low, he must continually top it up with a lump. The screen only shows a small part of the total playing area, Zebedee are in the category of nasties)! The game is simple in layout, the graphics are nothiry fans but will young Roundabout them. Magic Roundabout should be in the 11's and under category.'

'How long was it since I'd last seen these characters I asked myself? It's nice to hear about them again. The task is fairly simple in this game -just build a house from sugar lumps at the toadstool. Sounds easy enough, doesn't it? Well I searched and searched and could I find the toadstool before (and very quickly) all three lives had gone? All graphics are large and colourful, with the characteristic red trees planted around, and all the great names like Brian, Dylan, Ermintrude, Zebedee and Florence, who float effortlessly around the screen. Sound - well the Magic Roundabout theme is there, although a little broken up. Quite a child's game. I enjoyed it, but still only an average game.'

'The graphics are nice enough, but the game fails to recall the real atmosphere of the TV series. Magic Roundabout is obviously intended to appeal to children, and no doubt it will, although I think there isn't enough playability in the game. Children who use computers are remarkably sophisticated in their needs when it comes to interactive games. I also found the inlay instructions misleading, because I failed to find a toadstool or a train anywhere - a child might give up more quickly.'

Control keys: A/Z up/down, N/M left/right, SPACE bark/eat sugar
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: responsive, well laid out, but positioning Dougal can be fussy
Use of colour: reasonable
Graphics: average, but characteristic of the original
Sound: very little, poor attempt at tune
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: scrolling
General Rating: May prove popular with young children, lacks content for older people.