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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

The Android planet is one of the worst places to live if you happen to be a robot. The planet is ruled and dominated by a race of androids who, in a fit of synthesised evolution, managed to acquire the majority of human feelings and attributes such as ambition, determination and greed.

Thousands of robots working in the planet's mines are exploited by the Androids. Leading a hellish existence, the robots' life spans are very short and unpleasant. The robots are purposely made to be of a docile nature and are too weak to contemplate rebellion. SID is a freak though. He is not as servile as his metallic brothers. One day, in the hope of escaping his grim fate, he wanders away from the mines into the deep cave network that weaves endlessly below the plantetoid's surface.

Frightened of being discovered by the evil gnome patrols that keep the workers in step, SID eventually found a cold and particularly well-hidden cave. Socrates, a philosopher from among the ruling robots who had preached the unpopular view that all machines were created equal was hiding in this cave. For his beliefs, Socrates had been exiled.

Realising that SID might be able to liberate the robots and become their Messiah, Socrates instructs him: to achieve upgrade and become an Android in order to lead the worker robots to rebellion, SID must collect three envelopes, each containing one part of a computer program. The complete program must then be input to the Android's main computer. SID agrees to the philosopher's requests and sets off on his mission to liberate robot-kind.

SID is a quite normal robot capable of quite a few useful tasks. For a start he can walk, and when it comes to getting over obstacles that block his way, a hefty robotic leap allows him to pass any barrier. The creatures are to be found underground. Water isn't very healthy when your prime constituent is iron, for instance...

There are some useful things to be found, too. Advanced high protein energy reboosters perk up your energy bar they come in the form of sticky buns and bits of fruit. As an energy based organism your energy bar gives a direct indication of how much life you have left. Three energy bars are given on your quest for robot liberation: lose them and the game ends and your brothers are condemned to eternal slavery.

To get the three envelopes, three sections of the labyrinth must be negotiated, starting with the caves. To leave the caves a weight must be found to place upon a pressure pad to allow entry to the next section. Moving SID over an object and pressing the pick up key adds objects to your status line only three objects can be carried at once.

You aren't the only inhabitant of the caves. Strange energy-sapping beings float around, and finding a gun is a good move though you'll need to collect a magazine of bullets as well before you can start blasting away. Twelve bullet magazines of ammo are dotted round the caves.

Once through to the second section SID finds himself in a buggy travelling down a long corridor towards the next part. The buggy is equipped with a shield that can be activated if any cave creatures drift towards it, though the shield saps energy. A scanner at the top of the screen shows how far away the test centre is. Once through the corridor you're plonked within another room with a pressure pad. The only way out is through the door that the pad activates without a weight you've got problems! If you do get out of the room then SID is placed into the test centre. Here the envelopes must be found and the teleport activated to zap SID back into the first set of caves so the computer can be reprogrammed.


'After a glut of similar programs I must admit to being a little bemused by Alphabatim's decision to release something so derivative as their launch game. As an arcade adventure, Robot Messiah contains problems that are both logical and fun to solve, and the game compares well with the opposition. Things can slow down a bit when quite a few objects are on screen, and the action can get a bit ploddy at times. Graphically the game isn't all that exceptional - it's adequate apart from the animation on SID which is excellent. Overall not a bad game though there are so many of this sort already on the market and some are better: Robot Messiah may well be worth a look at if arcade adventures are your type of game'

'Robot Messiah looked like it was really going to be something special, but unfortunately I found it rather boring and repetitive to play. The main character walks around really slowly, transforming any initial adventuring excitement into extreme frustration because it seems to take so long to get anywhere. The scenery is also pretty dull and samey making the game seem like a poor man's Nodes of Yesod. I do like a good arcade adventure, but this one failed to spark any real enthusiasm -when I played it I had a constant feeling of deja vu'.

'Robot Messiah, Alphabatim's entry into the software jungle reminded me a bit too much of the fabulous Nodes of Yesod, The game itself is very colourful and the movement is very smooth with lots of well animated baddies. The sound effects contain too much clicking - a good constant tune would have been better. The accuracy of the blocks is appalling: it's possible to stand at least a character space over the edge of a platform in mid air without falling to the ground. At first look a pleasing game, but after a few games you notice lots of problems with it.'

Control keys: N left, M right, S leap, A fire, X pick up
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responds adequately
Use of colour: pretty, no attribute clash

Graphics: good animation, nice graphics but a bit repetitive
Sound: not a great deal
Skill levels: 1
Screens: 152
General Rating: A passable arcade adventure, but nothing particularly special.