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A.J. Rushton
A.J. Rushton
1983
Arcade: Action
£5.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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90
Chris Bourne

Spectrum Safari isn't exactly a new game. Its author, A.J. Rushton, originally marketed it under his own name when it was released last summer, but now it has been repackaged by CDS and given a new lease of life and better marketing, which is good, because this original and entertaining game deserves it.

The basic aim is to escape from a tropical island with as many of your exploring party alive as possible. Besides yourself, there are two others in the party. The centre of the island is a large swamp surrounded by six native villages.

Your party starts off in the north-west, and the only boat to use for your escape is in the south-east. Movement is accomplished by entering in the direction you wish to travel.

You need plenty of food as each man eats one pack per move. To get more food the villages may be visited where the villagers will offer to bargain for food (watch your money supply) and you can add to your team or replace lost members by bartering for one of the villagers. Pitching a bid too low may upset them and they won't deal with you. This is sad because, once visited, a village can't be returned to again.

The major problem to be encountered on your safari is the island's wildlife. 'Almost every move made will result in your party stumbling upon some creature or other. Some of these are virtually university educated and ask mathematical quizzes of you. Some demand that you tell them their name. Others ask memory questions, but some are downright mean and force you into an arcade sequence. Should you fail the test, one of your party is killed off (hence the value of buying more men from the villages as these represent your lives!). On the other hand, a correctly answered test will give you 500 more 'Rubloons' of money for bartering with.

Running out of food will also kill off a member of your team, the boat may only be bought at one village, which you must reach, and to succeed in escaping you must have sufficient food with you.

CRITICISM

'I played Spectrum Safari some time back and remembered enjoying it. So it was nice to get to review it again. Time hasn't dimmed its appeal either. What's nice about this madcap game is that it keeps you on your toes and it's very playable by a family along the lines of those TV family quiz games. To avoid being mangled by a mad marmoset, for instance, you must add up three blocks of them and give the correct answer in a few seconds. It's not easy, and a quick eye is needed. The little arcade sequences, like getting through the maze of cruel crocodiles, are nicely done, although naturally the graphics are quite simple. Original, enjoyable and quite addictive as well.'

'This game is totally original and combines some strategy elements with quizzes and arcade pieces. I would call it a lighthearted rather than deadly serious game, but there's enough in it to keep you going for some time, and it gets to be pretty maddening! Some things first time round are literally killing. The lion who wants you to repeat his name after flashing it on the screen for what looks like a quarter of a second just makes you laugh. You do get better though. '

'A graphics adventure that combines "soft" arcade with adventure elements and is very interactive with the player. It's fun.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: vary from sequence to sequence but prompted on screen
Use of colour: good
Graphics: varied, amusing although a bit small. The hi-res drawings work well
Sound: mostly beeps
Skill levels: 3
Lives: three to start, then depends on your bartering skills
General Rating: Unusual, entertaining and good value.

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