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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Linda Barker
Chris Bourne

I like to think that the Moontorc in question is a necklace made of moonbeams that have been wrung from the moon like soapy water from a dishcloth. (Why? Ed) Well, cos it's sort of grittily poetic. Unfortunately, the Moontorc in question is simply an amulet of magical and mysterious properties. Actually, I suppose it could be made out of galactic particles, it doesn't say that it isn't.

Moontorc the game rather than the thing, is a flip-screen shoot and collect-'em-up. There are four levels to roam through and they're of the weirdly colourful sort. You're a little chap and you've got to rescue the truly wondrous Princess Lalena from the blistered hands of the truly smelly Dark Lord. Cos you're such a nice sort of guy you're obviously not used to being nasty. So you're going to need a bit of help.

The idea is to collect gold and keys and parts of the Moontorc so you can progress and say hi to your babe. Along the way there are plenty of shops to pop into and do the odd bit of purchasing. You won't actually be able to get very far in to the game without paying a visit to one of these shops as they sell everything you're likely to need along the way. There are spells to blast the baddies away with, weapons to do something pretty similar and keys to open doors that let you into other parts of the game. Oh, and you can pick up parts of the Moontorc. Once you've managed to survive long enough to collect a complete Moontorc you can go onto the next level.

The graphics are very Dizzy-like; there are multi-coloured mushrooms to jump around on, plenty of little platforms and nicely detailed shops. Best of all, when you kill someone loads of little hearts replace the dead blokie. I thought it was all dead sweet, but sweetness doth not an excellent game make, as my Uncle Johnny who used to be a pop star once said.

The plot's fine and the graphics are beaut - so why isn't it the best game in the universe? Well, your little chap isn't very well animated and he's not very good at moving. Just when you think you're about to land in a stream of molten acid, you step off a mushroom into mid-air. Then, when it's patently obvious that the space between you and the ledge is small enough for a mole to jump, you land in the acid stream and... poom!

If you hate flip-screeners then this is obviously not the game for you. It's easy to see why they're so hated. Jumping off a platform and finding yourself face-to-face with a two-headed greed monster from hell isn't perhaps the best way to enjoy a game. Still, it's a nice enough gamette and one that should keep you occupied in that annoying space between the end of Neighbours and dinner time.

Uppy, downy, acrossy, abouty game that's a tad lacking!


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The moon is, in fact, a natural satellite. Unlike most satellites it is not made of metal, it actually has a major iron deficiency. That's why it hasn't got any of those funny aluminium spiky things sticking out of it.

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Here I am at ye olde shoppe. Two pints of milk, ten spells, a piece of Moontorc and a quarter of your finest lemon sherberts.

"Wish they would let me in, so I could find out what's behind the green door." I'll have to get the green key first though.

Pretty, isn't it? The four levels are shown on the right and all the characters on the left. What about the Princess Lalena, eh? Phwoarr!