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John Hopper
1986
Arcade: Platform
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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24,25
Chris Bourne

Santa's got it all a bit wrong this year. Off he goes to deliver the Christmas presents to all the boys and girls. Trudge, trudge trudge. Down all the chimneys, into the grates, to give the gifts to all good children, which is strange because it's the middle of summer. And there isn't a reindeer in sight!

Perhaps it's something to do with the seasonal mix-up, but poor old Father Christmas is encountering all sorts of problems as he does his rounds. He must collect the presents from the fairy grotto and safely deliver the goodies without waking up the children. However, one of the houses he visits is rather odd to say the least. While the kiddies are tucked up snug in bed, the house comes to life. Everyday objects like coffee percolators and saucepans have taken on a life on their own and do their best to terrorise Santa. China wall ducks are suddenly animated and the wine cellar hosts all manner of nasty spooks who evidently have a predilection for homebrew.

Apart from these supernatural hassles, there's the more traditional problem of trying not to wake the wee ones from their slumbers. As every boy and girl knows, if they wake up while Father Christmas is doing his yearly round then they won't get any presents. Santa, therefore, has to creep around the house making sure the kiddies stay in the land of dreams. However, the grown-ups don't go to bed so early on Christmas Eve and Daddy's still pottering around in the living room, probably waiting for the yearly rehash of appalling black and white films to come on the television. Santa must sneak around him making sure he isn't spotted.

To add to his difficulties, Santa isn't terribly well organised this year. Without his trusty red nosed reindeers to help him, he can only carry one present at a time. So after each gift has been safely deposited in the correct stocking, he has to tramp back to the grotto to get the next one. Quite apart from that, the various sinister nasties in the house are far from harmless. If Santa brushes against these moving objects then he loses a life. He is kindly provided with five lives at the start of the game, but they are quickly lost as he tries to navigate the unfriendly welcome from the pet dogs on the roof and the rolling footballs in the bedroom.

There is one bonus in Santa's favour. He gets to drink an awful lot of sherry that people have left out for him the more he drinks the more points he gets. Father Christmas also gains points for every present safely delivered and a percentage of the game completed is shown at the bottom of the screen. There's a demo mode to show the player the bare ropes of the game, which also provides an opportunity to have a sneak peak at some of the locations.

CRITICISM

'Oh well, they can't all be good, can they? They don't have to be as bad as this though! Summer Santa? Even the title is stupid. The game is even worse Awful, flickery, badly animated, clashing, un-proportioned graphics, a nerve-wracking, unrythmic tune, and a total lack of playability and/or addictive qualities. This game is truly a new low in Spectrum software. I might have said buy it for a laugh, but it's just not funny. Don't look out for it'

'Another typical budget game. Funny name, stupid story line, lots of colour and an attempt at a tune - that just about explains Summer Santa. The graphics are too large and are made up of characters - which means you are controlling lots of character spaces and not the usual block of pixels -resulting in appalling error detection. The sound is a very feeble effort at trying to make a Christmas-like tune. Summer Santa was impossible to play seriously due to the possibility of ending up stuck in a wall every time you jumped. ALPHA OMEGA seem to have excelled themselves in the art of a 'typical' budget game and, as a result, they've produced a load of trash.'

'Well it's the middle of summer (or so they tell us) and somebody's released a game all about the best bit of winter. Depressing ain't it? This is a piece of below average budget software that really doesn't appeal to me. The graphics are poor, the characters are large but too richly coloured so there is lots of colour clash and a fair bit of flicker too. The sound is truly awful. There are a few poor spot effects during the game and a terrible tune which plays throughout the game. Fortunately, there's a sound on/off option so it isn't too torturous. On the whole, this game is not fun to play so I wouldn't really recommend it.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: any
Keyboard play: average
Use of colour: poor
Graphics: uninspired
Sound: basic
Skill levels: one
Screens: lots
General Rating: Well below average, even for a budget game.

35%
28%
29%
40%
23%
24%
31%

Screenshot Text

Santa comes down the chimney with another goodie. Let's hope no-one sees him!