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Silversoft Ltd
Dave B. Chapman
Arcade: Platform
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Chris Bourne


THE MINER or explorer being chased through subterranean caverns by monsters of many kinds is now a common motif in computer entertainment and it would take a vastly superior program to oust Manic Miner from its place at the top of the pile. Sam Spade from Silversoft, which will run on any Spectrum, is yet another version on the theme and is no real contender against Miner Willy. Sam, our hero, is a miner digging kryptonite in the usual multi-layered cave. The precious ore is guarded by small, fast-moving monsters of red, green and yellow varieties. Sam is moved up and down the cavern using the keyboard or a Kempston joystick and climbs ladders to move from one level to the next.

To survive and to score he must dig holes with his hammer through which the monsters will fall, provided they are helped by a few taps on the head as well. Red monsters will die by falling only one level but to kill the others the player must dig sets of holes, as the green and yellow baddies must drop two and three levels respectively to be destroyed.

That takes some doing - the monsters are fast and voracious and it is all too easy to paint Sam into a corner. There is the added difficulty of a decreasing air supply.

While the program ran smoothly, the format became rather repetitive after a time, even though one's ingenuity is taxed by putting the proper holes in the correct places. The game is no match for the ever-moving, ever-changing caverns through which Willy has to struggle and leaves Sam as an average kind of miner, undistinguished by comparison.

Memory: Any Spectrum
Price: £5.95
Joystick: Kempston