Most budget titles are joystick-jumping arcade games, so it's good to see, for a change, a strategy game for once.
Octagon is Alligata's first venture into budget software on the Budgie label.
You - and up to three of your friends (if you play the multi- player options) have been put on ice and trapped inside a four level complex of 60 cells. All you have to do is rebuild the eight pieces of some mystic Octagon.
And all you have is a laser gun, some psychic powers which tell you where you are in the complex, and teleports which'll take you from one cell to another.
Each cell comes to life with two or three squirming monsters. Locate and pick-up the transporter globes from within the cell and carry each one in turn back to the transporter terminal. The blobby monsters fly along pre-determined paths and get in the way while you try to pick up the transporter globes. Shoot them and they'll disappear for ten seconds, giving you time to make a grab and dash. If they hit you they'll drain your energy and once that's gone it's back to Cell 1, Level 1.
If you collect four or more globes you move to the next cell, where you face more monsters, obstacles and globes. When you get through to the central core of the complex - which is a bit like playing TV's Blockbusters without the questions from Bob Holness - you move on up to the next level. Complete all four levels return to the outside world and that's it.
Octagon is an original and frustrating combination of strategic logic and arcade anarchy. I only have one complaint. Since there's no Sinclair joystick option and you can't redefine the key controls, you can't play it using a joystick with the 128K +2.
Joystick: Kempston and Cursor
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
Compulsive strategy game with arcade elements. It's massive big and frustrating to play. Budgie's first success.