Quicksilva Ltd
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

17,18
Chris Bourne

Max Headroom has been kidnapped from Big Time Television by Network 23 to feature exclusively on their new Videvert Show. You must assist top TV reporter Edison Carter and his controller Theora Jones rescue the Max Personality from Network 23's, vast computer, concealed within their huge 211 floor building. Naturally Network 23 are going all out to stop this byway of a series of elaborate seucurity systems.

Theora has a 'Maxhunter' program which should hopefully help Edison break into these security systems.

First he must gain control of the lifts so he can gain access to the Executive floors in the building. This is achieved by short circuiting the LED code in the lift, which comes in the form of a 7 segment digital display. A time limit is imposed on this code cracking during which the segments gradually lose their brightness. If at the end of the time Omit an 'E' is left illuminated then you have cracked the code and Theora has gained control of the lifts and Edison Carter can continue with his mission.

Edison is now on the Executive levels of Network 23's skyscraper. But before he can continue he must break the codes on this level so that Theora can gain control of the camera systems, and lifts and also gain access to the offices on the Executive floors. The security system flashes a sequence of lights and plays a corresponding tune which muct be remembered and the sequence entered in reverse. Failure at this makes the search of the Executive floors much harder because Theora can't use the security cameras to check for security guards and robots.

Edison has now managed to find his way to the Presidential floor. Before he can enter this level (where Max is being held captive) he must break the Presidential code. For security reasons only the President of Network 23 holds this code. However this eight digit hexadecimal code has been split into four 2- digit components. Edison must find the four separate parts of the hexadecimal digits to crack the code. The chances of guessing the code are estimated at several billion to one, say Network 23.

However once Edison is on the Presidential suite he still has to rescue Max from the computer lab, and this involves breaking more codes. Even after Max has been rescued the game doesn't really end until they are outside the building.

The whole mission is against the clock you only have six hours in which to assist Edison and Theora rescue Max. Apart from racing against time, you also have Edison's confidence levels to contend with. He starts the game with 99% self confidence, but as he is jostled and bumped by the security robots, who shoot at anything that moves, this level gradually drops until he dies. This % is shown on a chart at the bottom of the screen. Edison's confidence levels can be restored by allowing him brief rests but you lose time if you do this too often. Apart from the security guards and robots, Breughel and Mahler, the two sinister and thoroughly amoral assassins hired by Network 23 to kill Edison, are also out and about. Watch out for messages from Theora concerning the whereabouts of this gruesome pair.

CRITICISM

'The plot is great, the graphics are great, the game is fantastic. Before I saw Max Headroom I was puzzled at what Quicksilva would base the game on, but they have thought up a brilliant plot with instructions that set the atmosphere before you've even seen the game - just reading them got me intrigued and made me want to start playing immediately. The game follows on from the film very fluently, and is very similar to the film in look and drama. The only minor bad thing is that most of the floors are the same (but we can forgive them for that, there are over two hundred of them!). The ending is... well, I'd better keep quiet about that. Max Headroom could start a new branch of arcade/adventures from his game, with lots of detailed graphics, neat little tunes, a few adventure elements, icons, codes - what I'm trying to say, is this game's got the lot One of my favourite games this year. This is one game that's worth it's above average price: it's an above average game'

'Help! Its probably me and my little brain, but I'm not half finding Edison Carter's job hard. The instructions are pleasantly readable, and attractively presented, but could be a little more revealing. Its going to keep me occupied for quite a bit of time, but if it wasn't for the CRASH preview, I'd probably have be come bored trying to work out what I was doing wrong. For ten quid, it's good value for money, and the graphics are pretty neat, but I can't play it well enough to give it that little spark of addictivity that would push it to top notch. Leave it with me for two, three weeks and maybe I'll start enjoying it a bit more. Despite that, it's still pretty good'

'I was really looking forward to playing this one as I am a great fan of the film and the series, after my first go I was very confused but not disappointed. Graphically there is nothing revolutionary contained within this one but it is quite neat, the green stick characters walk around smoothly and the code screens are colourful. I enjoyed playing this original game as there is plenty to do, but I can imagine it getting a little boring in the end as all of the floors are virtually the same.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: a little disorientating at first
Use of colour: code sequences might make mono telly play a bit difficult, but otherwise colour is well used
Graphics: detailed, smooth, generally good
Sound: average to good
Skill levels: one
Screens: over 200
General Rating: An original and entertaining arcade/adventure with plenty to do.

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