Rock'n'r-ooo-ooo-ll - HUH! Rock 'n' roll! Gary Glitter's camp classic turned into a computer game? No such luck, matey. Rock'n'Roll is Rainbow Arts' latest offering, and now that they're out on their own rather than going through US Gold, you'd expect something a bit special. Wee-ee-eee-lll... I wouldn't go that far. Good, it is. Special? Rather depends on whether you have any more appetite for rolly-ball games.
You might remember a spate of these a couple of years ago. First there was the original classic Marble Madness, the conversion of the coin-op which set new standards for sound and animation. The main attraction was the way the ball interacted with the 3-D landscape. Then there was Spindizzy, where the part of the ball was played by a top; then Bobby Bearing, where it was played by a ball bearing. And there were several budget imitations. So what does Rock'n'Roll add to the games on that list? Not much. actually it's a bit of a step backwards 'cos it's in 2D.
The central playing area (which is pretty small and monochromatic) scrolls around to show you a series of mazes in a top-down view; a sort of Marble Gauntlet. Through the mazes you steer your animated marble, which is subject to quite convincing inertia effects and which spins nicely. Mind you, it doesn't have the skateboard, sports cap, ghetto-blaster, sunglasses and chewing-gum I was expecting from the title screen.
At the bottom of the screen you'll see the inevitable timer, score count, energy level, and the number of objects collected. These objects such as eyes, keys, shields, energy tokens and diamonds lie around the maze; the most important objects are the keys, without which you can't get through the barriers which block your way to the higher levels (which load sequentially from tape or disc). Each barrier is marked with a number - the higher the number, the more keys you'll need to open the door. At one stage on Level One you find a whole series of keys and doors, and the trick, I suppose, is to know at what stage to stop and turn around. There are also flickering energy barriers and creaking crushers through which you have to dash with exact timing, and black holes which you must avoid at all costs. If you take the plunge into a black hole, you have the option to restart from the same point or go back to the start of the level.
If you seem to have picked up all the objects in one area, and can't find any way out to another, you have to look for a spherical transporter pad. Transporters zap you from one zone to another; sometimes you have to jump through one, collect a key, then jump back again to open a door. Of course, you can't just wander around as you please; one-way arrows prevent you from taking the easy routes around the mazes, and slippy slidey bits make you go out of control, just as you come up to a black ho-ho-hole!
Rock'n'Roll has some good points, but it's not exactly over powering in its originality.
Label: Rainbow Arts
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Not a complete balls-up; plenty of Roll, just not quite enough Rock.