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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Can't think why they gave this to me unless it's because of my naturally bouncy... personality. Anyhow, it takes a bit of resilience to rebound when you're presented with a crusher like this.

The game's mine, but that doesn't mean that I want it, because this is the underground sort of mine where they tunnel for gold with automatic hammers. There's almost everything in this place, including metal detectors and a smelting plant, but the one thing they could do with is a handle to shut it all down, so guess what you've got to do...

To construct the handle you have to dig gold - and I sure dig it but in rings and things, not games like this. It took me an age to work out what I was doing as this is yet another Firebird game where the cramped inlay card makes the instructions indecipherable.

Seems that the basic procedure is to get out of the lift as you drop from the roof, using a hand/pointer to switch on the furnace and thermostat, and pick up a metal detector. Then you descend to the basement to play a game of turtle bridge beneath the pneumatic hammers.

Once you're across at the rock face you can move the hand around listening to the detector buzz until you locate an ingot, which seems to be a chance affair, even with the audible aid. Then you weigh it to determine its purity and if it's okay you can start making a pile by the furnace until you're ready to melt it all down. Beware of rock slides though, because they'll cause you to lose everything that you're not carrying.

I suspect there was once a good game in here, and in its other versions it could be a very different, rather frantic, romp. But the Spectrum conversion is so bad as to be almost unplayable. In the end the only 'off' handle I wanted was for my Spectrum!

Even in the realms of the budget there are better buys than this manic miner. An original concept spoilt by its execution.