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Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K
Unspecified custom loader

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Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

Sophistry is an exploration game, with over 400 screens worth for you to die on. You play a little marble like thing who has to find 64 keys to open up every room on every level. The keys are hidden around all of the 20 levels of the game, and boy, does this game demand a lot of thinking before you start getting the keys. A map is definitely called for.

Each of the screens are composed of little blocks, each looking like the graphic symbols on the top row on a Spectrum keyboard. Altogether, they look like dominoes, that's not important. Your little marble bounces from block to block in all of 4 directions (Woooooo!) it starts easily enough but on later screens the blocks start disappearing! Timing jumps then becomes essential. The blocks on each screen are laid out like a maze, and on some screens lots of strategy is required, especially with problems like locked exits and seekers. Eh? you say, what dey? Read on...

As well as the basic maze aspect of the game, there are lots of other features to make the game harder and generally give me more to write about. Each of the screens have different scenarios and features. The scenarios include Freeway, which means that you can move anywhere without restriction and Jumpy, which makes the blocks immediately adjacent surge up and down. Various others exist, but I'm not going to let you into all the secrets.

Seekers are another feature of the games - funny little animals that chase you around the screen. More surprises with the mystery blocks. Land on these for the unexpected. It might be bonus points, an extra man. It might even kill only seekers on the current screen.

Each level is different, on some the exits don't always open automatically. Some are time locked, which means you have to stay on the screen for a specific time before the exits open. On others, the exits are scorelocked, which means that you have to score a certain amount before the doors open.

The graphics on the game are good. Very good for what is really a strategy game in fact. The boards are presented in pseudo 3-D view across the board. The marble you play is very well animated. When it jumps, it splits like a spring, then comes back together. Stray off the blocks, or try to leave via a block that isn't an exit and you'll explode. Painful but true.

Sophistry is a great game, and one I recommend to both strategy and arcade games alike. And even my granny thinks it's the best thing since sliced corn flakes.

Label: CRL
Author: Roderick McFarquar
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Well crucial strategy bouncy thingy, shame about the funny name. A computer board game.