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Players Premier
1989
Arcade: Platform
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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60
Chris Bourne

Ghostbusters look out! Here comes Spooked! Released on Players Premier this budget game has you hunting for spooks in a wacky, spell flinging adventure romp, that proves that low budget can be high quality.

You are in the ghost extermination business but things have been pretty slack recently. No major monsters, no soup-bowls of slimers, not even the faintest plop of protoplasm has disturbed you - not working actually getting to be a bit of a bore, which just goes to show the desperation of the situation! But, what's this? Saved by the bell. Alexander Graham Bell to be exact, and one phone call later armed to the teeth you head for a strange castle.

Play begins with you having no weapons at all. So much for preparation. It's spells you must use to defeat your elusive phantoms and these are no unearthly given powers. You must collect ingredients for each spell whilst avoiding trouble like you avoid extra homework.

To collect your first offensive spell you need two small worms (Yeeeeck!), that you must catch by walking over them (Spllatttt!). By pressing enter at any time the current contents of your pockets are displayed and once you have enough slimey ingredients to exchange for a spell then find a cauldron - a purple one would be good.

Movement is by joystick or keyboard and control is left, right, up to (ump and fire will unleash whichever spell you currently possess. First off though you will have to try to avoid any skeletons by leaping over their heads (Oooo you re so brave), and any ghosts, who will go away if you keep still! Leap onto a cauldron and a menu will appear if you've enough items to make your magic and you then select which spell you want by pressing the appropriate number.

There are various spells available and include a homing fireball (very nice guv.) lightening, changling and letter spells, all of which become available as you explore the castle and find new tantalising and tasty ingredients, maggots, beetles and bees are amongst them. Pukey or what? All the baddies are spooks except one - he's a spooky old man who lives beyond the stone portals, the entrance fee being... yep, well guessed, even more ingredients but which ones? Ah well, you'll just have to find out won't you. Once through the portal a spooky old duffer will challenge you to a game of hangman using his vocabulary of 128 words.

Each life lasts for around four minutes unless you get zapped by any of the spooks and your current status is displayed by the grains of sand slipping to the bottom of the hourglass. You can top up your time remaining if you can find an hourglass and stand on it.

Lastly, there is scarreness rating which adjusts depending on how well you are playing. If you're playing well, then things begin to get very creepy, but if you've just started, the game stays fairly frightening until you get better.

Overall, this is a pretty good game with clean yet colourful graphics that have no clashing, or flicker and a testament to how good games can look on the Spectrum when the programmer hasn't had to convert it from another format. Full marks should go to Tom Prosser and I look forward to seeing his next game. For £2 99 it's completely wicked so don't wait too long - go get it now!

Label: Players Premiere
Author: Tom Prosser
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: ?

Smash yer piggies 'ed in and buy it!

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