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Front Runner
Pinksoft
1984
Educational
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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150
Chris Bourne

Space Professor is an educational game which requires some arcade skill of the traditional variety, for it is a shoot em up. It also requires some quite nifty mathematical abilities on the harder levels' The screen takes the form of something between 'Space Invaders' and 'Galaxians'. You are at the base, on the ground in a laser tank, firing upwards at the hordes of descending alien craft. Each of these has a number on it. Below the playing area a sum will be displayed and you must work out the answer as fast as possible so that you can shoot up all the aliens excepting the craft with the correct answer to the sum on it. This must be allowed to land unhindered to win.

Meanwhile, you must avoid being hit by the missiles that the aliens are firing down on you. ep On an easy level, this is pretty simple and suitable for fairly young children. However, on a harder level with, say division and a fast speed, working out 891 divided by 91, can be quite difficult.

There is an option menu to select between addition, subtraction, multiplication or division; three speeds of play; and control from keyboard or Joystick. If you get a sum right, the computer plays a tune and the arriving space craft puts down feet and puffs importantly to a stop.

CRITICISM

'Space Professor is a very unusual way of learning fast calculations in arithmetic. Of course, at first I chose the easy level just to get into the game - this is a good beginners level. Moving onto level three - now that's a totally different matter - you don't even have time to look at the sum because the aliens are moving towards you so rapidly - it's a nightmare! How ever are you meant to mentally calculate huge numbers while zapping aliens? And it's no use having a calculator, because you need all your concentration on the screen. A good, fast colourful learning aid for simple (and not so simple) arithmetic.'

'This is exactly the sort of game that is likely to cause more argument about whether computer games can be educational, especially in the light of Front Runner's ve ry 'hit arcade game' style advertising for it. What they have managed very nicely is a game that does have some reasonable arcade skill requirement as well as a fairly fast mind on the calculations. 1 have to confess to playing this in two, one on the keyboard and one on the calculator keyboard! Some of the harder sums are really quite a handful. I would think that Space Professor will provide excellent opportunities for distinguishing moving objects and linking them with an answer to a question, and making an immediate decision on how to act according to the answer.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: 9 and zero left/right and 1 to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, AGF and Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: responsive, with simple, well positioned keys
Use of colour: good
Graphics: large, simple shapes, quite fast
Sound: good tunes, some spot effects
Skill levels: 3
Lives: 3
Special features:
General Rating: An interesting educational program with rather more arcade content than usual.

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