Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

There was a time when a game like Power Pyramids would have been a nice little thrill. On paper it sounds good; 128 screens of arcade-adventure action, as you guide a bouncing ball around the convoluted interiors of a series of space pyramids.

Unfortunately, this is 1988, guys, and this sort of thing doesn't quite cut it in a market where you're competing with technical marvels like Carrier Command and Dark Side.

In fact, not even the plot makes much sense. The alien T-Pyge have developed the concept of the Pyramids. Suddenly, everyone wants Pyramids, and the T-Pyge are shipping them all over the universe. But WHY? No idea. Anyway, the pyramids are shipped in a dormant state, and have to be activated on installation.

You've just arrived in Earth orbit with four types of Pyramid; Basic, Super, Grand and Royal. To complete the job you have to guide an automated spheroid robot around the ramps and mazes inside the pyramids, activating all the hidden power points. Each pyramid features more screens and more hazards than the last, and there's at least one power point on each level.

The spheroid is in constant motion, and collisions with obstacles such as water, daggers, sparks and spikes cause it to lose energy. However, there are boosters which will recharge your energy when you dock with them, anti-grav pads which fling you high into the air when you activate them, and transporter spondules which whizz you to new locations. Strangely enough, there's no joystick control, or anyway, I couldn't make the joystick work, and there's no mention of joysticks in the instructions, so I think it's safe to assume that there's no joystick control. Instead, you make the ball jump by pressing the CAPS SHIFT. Direction is completely dependent on what you bounce off; you can't change it in any other way. The only other option open to you is to use the space bar to activate the springy anti-grav pads, or to change the angle of the ramps, some stages you have to pick up a speed changer to allow you to negotiate the tighter angles; also activated by pressing the bar. While some of the little tricky bits are quite fun to work out, Power Pyramids has absolutely nothing to make you go "WHOOOO! Look at THAT!" The backgrounds are primitively drawn, with large amounts of black space.

Because there aren't any moving objects except your flickering ball (on the early levels, anyway), there isn't much in the way of heart-stopping excitement; just the repetitive task of trying to bounce your way through the screens one after another.

Not so much Power Pyramids, more Tacky Tetrahedrons.

Label: Grandslam
Author: Julian Skelly
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Underwhelming arcade adventure with more quantity than quality.