Ocean Software Ltd
1985
Arcade: Platform
£6.90
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
SpeedLock 1

15
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

ROLAND RAT, Superstar, renowned for talking the boom off the speed of sound, has forgotten to set his alarm clock. He is late for his regular appearance on TV-AM.

The sewers in which he lives, with buddies Kevin and Errol, are also inhabited by mutant wellie boots which stomp their way up and down the levels, kicking everything out of their way. Roland finds that a pain in the tail, and arms himself with a rubber glue gun, which can be filled with glue pots scattered around the levels. The glue puts the wellies into a sticky situation and he needs gallons of it to get to the studio door.

To open the door and join Nick, Anne and Wincey he has to collect pieces of glow-in-the-dark material, one bit at a time, and fix it to the door. He must then collect the key and fit it into the lock for the grand finale.

To further complicate matters there are two sewer levels. If Roland finds a downward arrow on the first level he can travel to the underground system.

The tubes rattle by frequently but Roland, unperturbed, walks at the side of the track avoiding the danger. If luck is on his side he will find a black door into which the glowing pieces of puzzle can be fitted. He must be fast, however, as the time ticks slowly onward and the show will soon be over.

Finding the pieces is hard work and Roland has had no breakfast. He must get by on a diet of Big Macs and crisps which will boost his energy level.

The game relies heavily on the player's identification with Roland, and those who are not enamoured with the Superstar might find that play can be- come monotonous after more than 30 minutes, although the C5 trundling across the top of the screen with the other rush hour traffic provides some light relief.

The various screens look deceptively similar, and map-making is essential if Roland is to avoid running around in circles.

The graphics, while not outstanding, are smooth and fast. The scroll from one room to another is particularly impressive.

Roland's Rat Race will be of interest to rat fans everywhere. Although he is not his usual verbal his rambling computer adventures give a new meaning to cuteness on the arcade screen.

In the final analysis, is it good fun? Yeah!

John Gilbert

Publisher: Ocean
Price: £6.90
Memory: 48K
Joystick: AGF, Kempston, Sinclair

****

4/5