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Jeffery Bond
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

Other Links

Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

The hero of this game, Bouncing Bruce, may look more like Bert - Q Bert, that is - from the screen shots, but don't be misled, because there are bits of Thing Oh A Spring and other goodies packed away in this program.

Ignore the nonsense about service droids stranded on cosmic energy grids and get down to business, which is clearing a series of interlinked screens of energy discs, avoiding guards and trying not to stray onto the deadly ejection discs unless you want to fly like a bird and float like a lead balloon.

Each screen consists of a 3D pathway, littered with perils to dodge and discs to collect before you can use the way out. This leads to a map, from which you choose the next area to clear as you head for the main exit, located somewhere in the south.

The secret of clearing single screens is patience. Pressing fire increases your bounce, which helps you jump some hazards, but don't rush on immediately and spring too far or you'll be out of the frying pan, only to singe your parabolics in the fire.

The real test comes in tracing a path through the main map. You're never sure what lies in store as you stray into a new square. There's some repetition, especially at the more difficult levels, where the map becomes bigger, but you'll also find some nasty surprises, particularly towards the end. If you lose a life, you're allowed to choose a new path, which may be the best course of action.

Parabola isn't the most difficult game you'll ever play, nor is it the most original, but as a variation on an old theme it should certainly put a bit of spring in your joystick!