Well, bless my twisty DNA. In last month's Snare preview we told you that the gallant crew of Speccy programmers were going to be selling this game off their own bat, by mail order. It seems that twenty-seven seconds after that issue went to press, the chaps at ESD got a phone call from Jim Scott, the funky head honcho of Beyond Belief. He was so impressed by the game that he's going to be distributing it on the Beyond Belief label. Hurrah! In fact, double hurrah! With an extra hurrah on top! Ooo, I've gone all wibbly.
Sorry about that. It's just so nice to see home-grown software being taken up by the big boys. Especially software that's as good as this. Snare is a Boulderdash-y sort of puzzler, with you playing Humphrey, a fanatically loyal royalist. The Princess of the land has had all her jewels filched by a load of aliens no less, and it's up to you to get the diamonds back. Evidently lacking imagination, the aliens have scattered the sparklies across thirty screens, surrounded them with networks of rocks, and are lurking in wait for unwary heroes. You have to push tho rocks around a bit, trapping the nasties so they can't get at you, then nip in in and grab the diamonds. Simple, eh?
At this point, old lags at the reading game will expect me to say, "No," then go on to describe some bafflingly complicated bits hidden away in the game. And who am I too break with tradition? The basic move-and-grab idea of Snare is vibrantly enhanced by the introduction of bombs, teleporters, a time limit, and multiple Humphreys. Bombs, um, blow up, taking huge chunks of the scenery with them. Teleporters fizz you away with a snazzy dematerialisation effect, and quite often deposit you safely back on the screen again. The time limit seems an innocuous feature, until you find out that all the walls disappear when it reaches zero. with around six nasties on each level, this does not bode well for your continued well-being.
The star of the show, though, is the multiple Humphrey feature. On some levels you'll be controlling two (or even four) of the chaps, all stuck in their own bit of the screen, and all pointing in different directions. Bewildering gameplay ahoy!
Snare is a smacker of a game. It is so addictive that I just had to play it until I got to Level 12. As you may know, I'm a really big fan of straightforward arcadey games. Nary a month goes by without my plugging Guardian 2, that incredible Stargate-on-a-Speccy game. So you won't be surprised to learn that I went for Snare in a jolly big way. The fact that you can't directfy zap the nasties adds a whole new thinky dimension to the gameplay, and the diabolical sneakiness of the level design adds lashings of addictive playability. Those extra features really jolly up the basic idea. Having up to four Humphreys on a screen is a brainwave - trying to manipulate each in turn just doesn't work. You have to wrap your mind around the concept of controlling all four simultaneously, waggling the joystick round so the chaps dangerously near some nasties don't accidentally wander into them.. I'd strongly recommend that the Snare programmers consider a sequel where the main idea is to control multiple Humphreys. It really is a spectacularly fabulous feature.
But enough of this wild-eyed dribbling. If you cast your mind back past all that wibble, you'll recall I said that I simply had to fight on until I reached Level 12. What, you don't remember that bit? Then skip back to the top of the page and read it all again. Tsk. I don't know. Education today, or what? Anyway. You could argue that I got to Level 12 in two days, any half-decent gamester could finish off the game in a week. Well, you could. But if you did, I'd have to swipe you lightly across the left ear and say cheerfully, "You're wrong!" Y'see. Snare has a password system. Every five screens you get a nifty, um, password that allows you to jump straight to that set of five screens And, um I started on Level Five (Ahem.)#
Look, let's cut this short. I love Snare. It's a maddeningly addictive game. It's got smooth graphics and splendid 128K sound. It loads straight into the SAM Coupe with no hassle. It's great. Go and buy it. D'you get the idea? You do! Hurrah! in fact-double hurrah! (Etc.)
It's simple. It's addictive. Um, that's it really.
SETTING A SNARE THE YS WAY!
1. Choose your quarry with care. Do not, for example, attempt to snare any wildlife. Not only is this incredibly nasty, but the experienced-in-the-school-of-hard-knocks animals are apt to spot your snares from miles away. They will then disarm them, bury them in your back garden and stand beneath your window at the dead of night, throwing pebbles and chanting unfavourable slogans.2. Select the type of snare you wish to use with equal care. If you had decided to snare quiet librarians named Sue, for example, you'd need a large pile of extremely rare books and a box of chocolates bearing the legend, "To Sue." As you can appreciate, this type of snare requires a lot of preparation. It is far better to start simply; your first snare should be for an inanimate object such as a stone, or a lamppost. A simple loop of rope will suffice to snare these.3. When the stone or lamppost approaches, throw the loop of rope over it and tug hard.
If you squint, the word 'Snare' seems to resolve itself into the word "Snape". A snape, as any fule kno, is a small oppossum-like mammal that lives gently on the plains of the Serengeti, passing the time of day by filling in crossword puzzles using last week's clues.
One of these icons is not like the other. Can you tell which one? (Before my song is done.)
The Four Humphrey's! They sing, they dance, the blow things up. And they wear hats.
There are a lot of clocks on this screen. The number of clocks is markedly high. It is a perfectly clock-filled level. Yes indeedy.