Gary Walmsley
1987
Board Game
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

33
Gareth Adams, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

You are an Octon, a creature given power by the symbol of the octagon. Trapped in the confines of a four level complex of 60 cell worlds, your only chance of escape lies in the successful building of this octagon from pieces held at the complex's core.

Octons move left, right and upwards, or fall under the pull of gravity. Each cell is populated by creatures such as snakes, spiders and fish, which move across the screen and increase in number with each successive level. Contact with these saps your psychic power, but for protection you carry a stun gun which temporarily vaporises your opponents.

To transfer from cell to cell, at least four tokens m must be gathered and taken to your 'stand on' (home platform). Collected tokens are displayed at the bottom right of the screen, along with any relevant messages. You may choose the standon from which you exit the cell, as long as it is a neutral white- or corresponds to your designated colour. The count at the top of the screen is reduced by one unit when a new cell is reached.

A teleport is used to transport between levels, but this can only be done when they are the correct colour, and when a key is in your possession. The position of this key is displayed on a scanner at the bottom left, with its number showing which level you presently occupy.

No more than one octagon section can be picked up and carried at any one time, and access is gained to the outside world when all of the pieces have been fitted into their appropriate positions at the starting point on level one.

CRITICISM

'I don't really know what to make of Octagon. At first sight it seems to be very good, but after a few goes it becomes obvious that you should be able to do more than just fly around a stack of similar screens. A quick reread of the inlay uncovered a little more, but it didn't really disclose how to get deeper into play. The sound is poor: there's no tune, and very few spot effects whilst playing. Although I can appreciate some of the nicer points, it isn't really that good.' GARETH

'Things looked quite promising at first - the neat inlay, interesting scenario, abundance of useful options, a short but sweet tune on loading, some average but colourful graphics and the option which allows up to four people to play - but unfortunately the game is a great disappointment. Your character moves in a very jerky fashion and the interim screen that flashes when you move from cell to cell is unnecessary and frustrating - this destroys the flow and makes the proceedings very disjointed. The above average presentation increases the value, but unaddictive gameplay is a major let-down.' PAUL

'I'm afraid I don't like Octagon at all. The graphics are colourful (almost too colourful in fact), but they look quite poor. The scenario didn't quite sink in for a while, and the gameplay didn't appeal to me at all; I didn't like the technique of pressing the initial letter of the action required. Finally, the 'arcade' sequences are pretty appalling.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/A up/down, N/M left/right, SPACE to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor
Use of colour: generally bright appearance
Graphics: a busy screen but generally small characters
Sound: reasonable tune, but few FX
Skill levels: one-but four players may take part
Screens: 240 cell worlds
General Rating: An unusual game which appears more complex than it really is, and not very addictive.

66%
49%
45%
44%
52%
47%

Screenshot Text

Travelling between cells, preparing to enter cell 41.

One of the Octagon cells, inhabited by creatures bent on preventing you from collecting tokens.