MC Lothlorien Ltd
Dave Stevens
1984
Arcade: Platform
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

35,36
Chris Bourne

The cassette inlay has a fairly lengthy explanation of what the game is about, which is just as well, as it isn't very self evident. What is, however, is that this is a 'Panic' game of platforms. ladders, monsters and hole digging with some very different variations on the theme. The basic story line is that you are Disoranic, a distant cousin of old Nefertiti, woken up from peaceful pyramidal slumberings by the ghost of Mad Clive, an archaeologist. None of this has much to do with playing the game, but it sets the scene for the antics to come.

To get yourself peacefully reburied again, you must find and read 25 magic cartouches (no, we didn't know what they were either). In this task you are hindered by three types of monster and the ghost of Mad Clive. The first screen shows the pyramid with seven floor levels. You start at the top and can dig holes and build ladders down. Several monsters infest the lower levels. The idea is to entice the monsters to attack you and then dig a hole and bury them. When they're all gone, you get properly inside the pyramid with the whole screen taken up with the seven platform levels, connected with ladders in various positions.

New ladders cannot be added. At the base level is a cartouche (still don' t know), which must be read before killing off all the monsters in the traditional 'Panic' method. After five cartouches (no, sorry) the door to your sarcophagus is revealed. You may then continue on reading cartouches (ah - just got it - dictionary says: scroll ornament, an oval ring containing hieroglyphic names and titles of Egyptian kings, etc. Phew!) or read the door's inscription to pass through when all the monsters are killed. Got that?

Digging holes too close to other holes may result in rockfalls, plunging you through or trapping you. You cannot fall through a hole as in most 'Panic' games, except in the first screen.

CRITICISM

'It's quite clear that this is a 'Panic' game of a sort, but despite the instructions and game objectives being stated on the inlay card, I couldn't make head or tail of it. A lot of strange things seem to happen, perhaps not surprising inside an ancient pyramid, but confusing in a game. As a 'Panic' it seems pretty easy to kill off the monsters. One thing that puzzled me is that on the first screen I failed to kill off all the monsters before the oxygen ran out (why would a long dead Egyptian king require oxygen?) and yet I still progressed on to the next screen. One reason why I couldn't kill them all off was because having just built a ladder, one monster climbed immediately up it and then proceeded to hover on the top of the ladder with obviously no intention of moving further. The 'Panic' elements are all fairly good, but the attempts to make it ever so different have made it a bit unplayable too. '

'This is a "Panic" game in which you must become a mummy! I found this game had large but rather flickery graphics. It was fun to play but seemed to lack something. There were half a dozen keys required to control things, and this removed some of the fun. Nevertheless, this was a "Panic" game which grew on me with the playing.'

'Even after playing the game for half an hour I was still unsure as to what I was really supposed to be doing - everything was so unclear. This wasn't helped by some funny things occurring, like the moment when I dug a hole in a spot and apparently 'jammed ' the monsters up. One on a ladder and one just the other side of the hole, merely moved a character square forwards and then backwards, and continued doing that with the rest of them following suit until the oxygen ran out. The graphics are nice and large. The keys didn't always respond when pressed. It has some good tunes, which tend to drive you up the wall!

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/A up/down, I/P left/right, dig D or 0, Read cartouche D, 0 or R, build a ladder D or 0, Fill hole F, 1 or SPACE
Joystick: Sinclair ZX 2, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: difficult with so many, and not always responsive
Use of colour: above average
Graphics: quite good, large although flickery, but nice animation detail
Sound: above average
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 4
General Rating: Average if you can understand it.

60%
66%
55%
50%
46%
55%
55%

Screenshot Text

Mummy, Mummy - I've gone and lost my cartouche.