Micromania
Dominic Wood
1983
Arcade: Maze
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

108
Chris Bourne

Micromania certainly seem to have been busy recently, and have the distinction of being the first to advertise another of their products on the loading screen of a game. It's a very good screen too, with the Pengy title to the left and an ad for Tutankhamun on the right.

Will we be seeing animated 'trailers' for games coming to this screen soon? Pengy probably needs no introduction, and the game type has certainly been well copied lately. You guide a penguin round the lonely Artic wastes, except they're not so lonely. Snow bees chase around after your penguin trying to kill him off.

Protection comes in the form of being able to shove the screenful of iceblocks around, hopefully crushing a nasty in the process. Pengy can also 'electrify ' the wall of the screen, making any snow bee in contact with the wall go dizzy.

The peculiarities of each version, gives the Spectrum range its charm (a comparison soon?) Pengy's enemies in this version are less intelligent that in say, Freez' Bees, but to some extent, this makes the game more playable, since you have a better chance of getting Into It. Also, when the fence is electrified, the dizzy bugs can be trundled over (effect lasts about four seconds). Another little quirk Is that the last bee left on a screen becomes very cowardly and runs away, often suiciding rather than face the Wrath of Penguin (which gives bonus points).

As each screen is cleared. (two bees on the first) the number of bees gets higher. As with some other versions those blocks of ice containing a bee, are a different colour for two seconds when the game starts, and after hatching, the bees are vulnerable to being trundled over for a few more seconds.

CRITICISM

'From the nice loading screen onwards, the graphics of Pengy are colourful and detailed and amusing. The snow bees look positively comical before they vanish, and the penguin is nicely animated. I like this sort of game, and I find this version to be the most playable that I have seen yet.'

'A very good use of colour, and good graphics make this version very playable. Although the nasties are not quite so devilish as I have seen in other versions, the fact that they are not makes it easier to get further, faster. As each screen goes by, the sheer numbers make the game very challenging. It seems a little peculiar that you often don't have to kill of the remaining bug, but otherwise this is a very good version, with sensible keys.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: A/Z = up/down, N/M = left/right, rest of bottom row = push or melt or electrify; also cursors plus zero.
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek, cursor clip ons
Keyboard play: reasonable
Colour very good
Graphics: well detailed and animated, a little jerky but nothing to complain of
Sound: good
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
Lives: 3
General Rating: Above average to good, and reasonably addictive.

75%
68%
73%
75%
71%
70%
72%

Screenshot Text

No one can hear you croak in the frozen wastes.