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1985
Arcade: Adventure
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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40
Chris Bourne

Alligata have decided to add to the proliferation of budget priced software by setting up a new software house, to be known henceforth as Budgie. The first two titles to be released fall into two categories: Super Sam is an arcade adventure while the second title, Convoy is a strategy game.

Super Sam is set in the midst of a dark and forbidding castle. Confined within this fortress is a chap called Boris. Now Boris is a rather slippery character, and his capture is the object of the game. The only way Boris can be restrained is by trapping him in a cage, and you have a problem. The case needs to be assembled from eighteen component parts which are hidden within the castle waiting to be recovered.

Most of the rooms within the castle are pretty straightforward having a backdrop, possibly with a door which may or may not be an exit. Nearly all of the rooms have manholes through which your man can fall to his death, unless it happens to be an entrance to a secret passage. Some of the other rooms look more like mazes, and in such rooms you may have to find a hidden path through a wall in order to get to an exit or an object.

No matter where you are in the castle you will find yourself continuously being hampered by a wide range of little bods, some of which look very much like our flat hatted hero Sam would if he rode around in a pedal car. Others resemble police persons waving tickets or even top hatted gentlemen. Looks aside, all of these little chaps are a real pain: as you wander around trying to pick up bits of the cage, they will home in on you and if they succeed your energy will be drained. The energy bar at the top of the screen will decrease rapidly with collisions and each time it falls to zero you lose a life. When you have lost all three lives you have lost the game.

There are some quicker ways of being killed falling down a manhole or walking into a booby-trapped room, for example. Don't worry though, it isn't all bad news. If you live long enough you may come across an object that will afford you some protection against the castle's inhabitants.

You don't win or lose points in this game. Complete your task and you won't be rewarded with a score; instead the game keeps track of how long you take, so if you find that you have gone through a door that takes you outside the castle walls then you will have to get back in as quickly as you can. Unless of course having had a taste of life inside you would rather remain outside.

CRITICISM

'Super Sam is a very disappointing start to what promises to be an interesting range of budget software. There really isn't anything about it that I like. The controls respond poorly - especially when one is using a joystick - and the graphics are very poor. This game is simply not up to the standard being set by other budget price software houses. While this is a difficult game to play, I'm sure that it won't be long before you become frustrated and simply decide to chuck your stick in'

'This is what could be described as an incredibly flat 3D arcade adventure: the playing area doesn't go very deep into the screen. Consequently, the game is very difficult to play since you have to run round the various nastier to delve further into the game. It hasn't been particularly well programmed, either. In certain situations your movements are thwarted by the presence of overhanging walls, while in real life you would be able to walk under them. The game isn't much fun to play either - it's just a simple collect-the-bits-and-escape of the sort which would have been new two years ago. It might be cheap, but there are other games cheaper which are a lot more fun to play'

'Once again we're presented with the worn out flip screen arcade adventure scenario. The advantages of arcade adventures is that the programmers have had the chance to learn from everyone else's mistakes. No such luck this time. The whole game is slow and the sprites flicker terribly. The background graphics are average which makes them the best feature in the game. The sprites are small and indistinct with what looks like two frame animation. The effect I liked best was when Sam drops down a manhole and falls into the sewers. These were the only smooth graphics in the game. I'm afraid that after looking at the quality of recent budget software that Sam doesn't make the grade.'

COMMENTS
Control keys
Keyboard play
Graphics
Skill levels: one
Screens: 34
General Rating: Because of the low price - fair(ish).

67%
55%
47%
60%
43%
40%
42%

Screenshot Text

Staying away from the holes isn't such a problem, but those peddle cars are such a pain, even for SUPER SAME. Eek!

Can our her, SUPER SAM, penetrate the dark secrets of the castle and capture the evil slithery Boris? Would you want to?