Piranha
1987
Arcade: Maze
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

104,105
Ben Stone, Mike Dunn, Paul Sumner
Chris Bourne

Vampire hunting isn't everyone's idea of a hobby, but Mr Weems thinks that it's a pretty good way of passing the time. With this in mind he sets out to kill the Great She Vampire.

Having entered her mansion, Mr Weems discovers that it's a six-level, flick screen complex of corridors and rooms with locked doors. Collected keys unlock them, but there are hidden doors as well, and magic transporter blocks.

On each level Weems encounters bat-infested coffins and pots, lumbering, but stupid Frankenstein monsters, and menacing she vampires with street smarts. If they bump him in the night, they give Weems amnesia. Should his blood count ever fall to zero he succumbs to death, but Weems can turn vampire himself and replenish his blood levels by picking up the blood bottles he finds on his adventure. He can also pop a smart-garlic pill to give himself a short-term immunity to others' bloodsucking attentions.

Not content with merely smelling like a French chef , Weems also totes a garlic-firing gun with almost limitless cloves; there are also garlic bombs to be picked up en route to. When used, these remove offending creeps rom the show, but are ineffective when the ultimate level is reached. Points are awarded for each creature creamed, and when all bloodsuckers have been removed from each room, coffins can be destroyed, a point being given for every one blasted.

On reaching the ultimate level, our be-garlicked vampire enthusiast finds the Great She-Vampire's penthouse lair. There he can kill her at his leisure, but only if he has acquired the secret weapons - a stake, a mallet, a mega-garlic piece, a mirror and crucifix - contained within boxes on each of the levels. Once collected these are shown on screen.

If he manages to despatch the Great She-Vampire, Weems must make like Seb Coe and leave the vampire-ridden mansion before her enraged minions can seek him out - but if that's what you like doing for a hobby, Bon Apetit.

CRITICISM

'Here's a pleasant enough Gauntlet derivative. The graphics are fine; though the bespectacled Weems looks out of place in a game that seems to demand warriors and wizards. Ho hum. As far as playability goes, there's a good bit there, but I'm afraid lastability is limited - I got bored after only the second level. This, in a game costing as much as Mr Weems, is too little playing time. Overpriced, but a fun play.' MIKE

'I was a little surprised to see this in the In Tray, as there has been none of the usual Piranha hype surrounding. Despite strong Gauntlet overtones (which I've seen all to often recently), Mr Weems proves to be a playable game, marred only by its difficulty and less than slick presentation. Along with most Gauntletesque games the graphics can get messy, and confusing when there's a lot happening on screen. This does affect gameplay somewhat if you're playing on a colour TV (but then again, turning the colour down at times of panic shouldn't be too much of a strain)... BEN

'I found Mr Weems to be a most enjoyable game. Its only flaw being the graphics. Due to the high amount of detail used, they very easily appear messy on the screen - often quite indistinguishable. Colour is well used however, despite, being mainly monochromatic, and the flick screen idea is a sensible choice, as a scrolling play area would have ruined it. Nonetheless, Mr Weems is fun to play, even though it's another on the well-worn Gauntlet path. Asking the full wack for a re-hash of an older game puts its value for money down quite a bit.' PAUL

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable, up/down, left/right, smart-garlic and garlic bomb needed
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: very bright surrounds to a largely monochromatic playing area
Graphics: often extremely busy and sometimes confusing
Sound: above average
Skill levels: one
Screens: six levels of flick screens
General Rating: Effective enter and destroy game of reasonable addicitivity, slightly spoiled by over-busy graphics.

59%
63%
67%
62%
57%
64%