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Elite Systems Ltd
S. Brockelhurst
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links

Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Amidst all the sophistication of games, the half screen tall sprites, the icon driven adventures, it's worth remembering where it all began... in the Arcades. It's worth breathing a nostalgic sigh for the times when all games were simple - some were simply dreadful but others were simply wonderful.

And let us not forget Miner Willy, Matthew Smith's classic coal cutter. His platform jumping exploits created so many clones that many people still run screaming when they see a game with only left, right and jump controls. (Right. nurse, I think we've lulled this reader into a sense of security. Now just slip the strait jacket on. Nice and secure? Good.)

Roller Coaster has only one key in addition to right, left and jump - but that's only a go faster button. (Good thing we used the manacles... cant escape when I drop the big one.) And Roller Coaster is great. Its plot is minimal - collect the money bags left inconveniently around a fairground, jump over obstacles and go for rides. That's all. Your little man doesn't even have a name.

So what is it that makes Roller Coaster almost as much fun as the real thing? I'm not sure. It's a high scorer - but that's not enough. And it looks good and has some classy opening music and spot effects - but that's not enough either. Then I think it must be the sheer addictiveness. Nothing's so difficult that you won't achieve something first time - but to get every bag you'll need to practise on every ride. And curiosity about what comes next will spur you on.

Elite has made something of a speciality converting arcade games of late. Here they have an original that's worthy of a full sized machine of its own.