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Sparklers
1985
Arcade: Maze
£2.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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22
Chris Bourne

With games such as Toy Bizarre and Chucky Egg 2 there really does seem to be a spate of industrial crisis games, after a childhood spent playing of these games I'm not surprised that nobody wants to go into industry it's too dangerous.

In Quackshot the player assumes the role of a nightwatchman at the Acme Clock work Toy Factory, who, no doubt had hoped that his first night on the job would be a quiet one, not a chance! He is going to face a revolution. As he explores the factory complex he is faced with numerous toys, ducks, spiders and snakes to name a few. For some reason all the toys have taken a strong dislike to watchmen and are out to kill him. His only means of defence are a stun gun and antiduck bombs. The gun only fires left and right so the bombs are needed to rid those toys not prepared to come out and chance a straight fight. In fact a bomb will clear the whole screen of every sort of nasty but as the bombs are limited you can't use them too liberally.

The game is played over a series of 16 linear mazes. Each maze is about 5 screens long and access to the next maze is gained by finding the key which unlocks the door. Each progressive maze has an increasing number of locks within it, forcing you to collect more keys to work your way to the next door.

As you can only carry one key at a time this means exposing yourself more frequently to the nasties while you go back to get the next key. The maze is full of surprises, the least pleasant being a helmet shaped creature that homes in on you at great speed. Transport chambers allow you to relocate yourself, a useful means of escape. Points are scored for moving from one maze to another and for picking up strange objects from within the maze, apart from the keys these objects have no other purpose.

As you move the maze scrolls sideways. A map of the current maze is shown at the top of the screen and a countdown is provided to allow the player a measure of progress in any particular maze.

CRITICISM

'Quackshot is a very original and very addictive maze-cum-platform game. The scrolling screens bear a strong resemblance to Skool Daze but the game is very different. The graphics themselves are a gem being perfectly smooth, no flicker at all. Creative Sparks must have been proud of the graphics because they actually print a screen picture on the front of the inlay card. My only criticism is that the pattern of the maze walls never changes but this is a minor point because the game is so addictive. The sound is excellent with a tune and additional effects. The map at the top is a great help but beware of being attacked while studying it. The action is pretty quick (certainly quick enough for me) so it's going to take some mastering. Quackshot is a superb arcade game, well worth a look at'

'Quackshot is one of the best maze games I've seen over the past few months. It just seems to have so much life in it, it's really wacky! With many stages, the game builds up in difficulty from reasonably challenging to dead hard. Quackers proves that you don't need complex plots and tasks to make a great game - just plenty of action!'

'I'm sure everyone's got a game like this- it's fun to play and very addictive, but you never seem to play it because you always play the brilliant games instead. Quackshot has great graphics that scroll well and are nicely drawn, the sound is quite good and there is a lot of it (which makes a change). One thing that the instructions don't say is that you get a limited number of bombs and shots with your stun gun which makes playing even harder! I love all the different keys that are out to get you.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: D/C up/down, N/M left/right, SS for bomb, S to fire
Joystick: Kempston and Sinclair
Keyboard play: comfortable
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: very good
Sound: good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 4
Screens about 80
General Rating: A very good game especially when you consider the price.

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Screenshot Text

Looking for the way out from maze one in QUACKSHOT.