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Ariolasoft UK Ltd
Mike Edwards
Arcade: Maze
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

JUST BECAUSE a game has been a hit on the ol' Commode doesn't mean that the Spectrum version will be any good.

Ariolasoft's latest is a graphic example of how not to convert a best-seller - the graphics are awesome in their awfulness.

There is no plot to speak of, just a collection of mazes with grim sounding titles, such as The Erebian Vaults, The Abyss and - finally - Realm of Impossibility. There are 13 mazes and each one gets more hazardous with ladders down to the lower levels.

Each dungeon contains a limited range of appallingly animated entities which include zombies, poisonous spiders, rolling balls a la Raiders of the Lost Ark, and snakes which look more like sickly worms. All of them are flickering matchsticks.

The monsters are, however, fast and fairly intelligent. Your character's only weapons are a bunch of crosses which he plants in the ground to keep the creepies at bay. He will find a variety of spells, such as 'freeze' and 'confuse', in the labyrinthine corridors of hell, but selection and execution of those is difficult when you also have to dodge the monsters.

Ariolasoft describes the game as an 'action/strategy program.' The only strategy involved is dropping crosses and getting to a key at the limit of each dungeon. Until you get the key you will not be allowed to retrace your steps and exit the maze.

The game can also be played by two players - if you're sure you want to show your friends the embarrassing mistake you bought - and you can both enter the dungeons at the same time. The idea is to help each other rather than compete.

That 'strategy' makes a fairly easy game - even on the final level of difficulty - into a simple game. I managed - admittedly on my own - to get through most of the dungeons, even some of those which were locked - what are keys for after all?

You will need a good hour to get tired of this boring and repetitive game - 50 minutes to get through most of the dungeons but, first of all, 10 minutes at the start rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter at the graphics.

John Gilbert

Publisher: Ariolasoft
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair