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Bob Hamilton
1984
Arcade: Platform
£6.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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90,91
Chris Bourne

As we reported a month or two back, Fantasy have given their super hero Ziggy a holiday, and in this, their new game, a new hero emerges - Beaky. Beaky lives on the planet Crackit, and the place is of the type that would give David Attenborough shivers of ecological pleasure.

This is survival of the fittest. As Beaky your task stretches across three screens of furious activity and the aim is to raise more Beaky's like yourself. Don't worry - this is no sex education game - Beaky's broody habits are restricted to saving eggs, hatching them and feeding the resultant chicks. In effect there are 12 different screens, consisting of three distinct phases. The object is to rear four generations of Beakys to complete the game. Beaky is an Andromedan Condor and possessed of magical powers, he also spits magic seeds which kill off his aggressors. In the first screen the Eggsnatchers have robbed the nest of its eggs.

These can be seen dotted about on the five platforms above the nest. Eggsnatchers keep materialising and then picking up the eggs. After a second or two they dematerialise with the egg. Beaky must fly around rescuing the eggs. Because they are too heavy to pick up, he must wait for an Eggsnatcher to get one, then shoot the beast before it dematerialises. The egg is dropped and falls, Beaky must zoom down and catch it before it drops and smashes, eventually landing on the nest to deposit it. Contact with an Eggsnatcher will cause it to dematerialise with a resultant loss of some of Beaky's magical power. When all power is lost the game is over. On subsequent levels poison green eggs will fall into the nest. These are best shot out of the air as they destroy the already collected eggs one at a time. Leaving the first phase is up to the player and is a strategical decision. Too soon and you won't have enough eggs - too late and there won't be enough magical power to sustain you through the next two phases.

Having collected some eggs they must now be hatched out. For this they need warmth. Fortunately they only take two minutes to hatch. However life is made difficult by the snowflakes which keep dropping on the nest lowering the eggs' temperature. These may be shot at, in which case they turn to water, which has less effect. Another shot when the drop turns blue will vapourise altogether. If the temperature drops to zero an egg will be lost. On top of this is the Froogle (claimed to be a distant relative of Googly Bird from Doomsday Castle), which hops slowly along and flicks squid nitrogen into the nest causing a drop in its temperature.

Froogles are dissuaded from this unsavoury habit by shooting the spheres which float around and causing their central nuclei to fall on the Froogle's head. Contact with a Froogle causes severe depletion of magic power.

Successfully hatching out an egg takes you onto phase three - feeding the chick. This is accomplished by catching large quantities of a green flying worm and taking it back to the thick. The worms are not easy to catch, being naturally shy of vicious Andromedan Condors. More Eggsnatchers will appear in this phase (they also like green flying worms) and will drop missiles into the nest, further depleting any food you have already collected. Rearing a chick through this phase returns you to the first at a higher, more difficult level. Completing all four levels will result in a hi-score code appearing for Fantasy's Hall of Fame (as well as Lloyd Mangram's Hall of Slime).

CRITICISM

'This is one of those games which starts off fairly difficult and boring but gradually grows on VDU.' thought the graphics were a bit of a come down after Doomsday Castle although the animation is quite good. Beaky has a mind of his own and is hard to control, especially when landing. The game becomes progressively more interesting. Colour and sound are well above average. It gets to be very addictive although I still think DOC was a better game, but certainly worth buying.'

'Fantasy certainly go in for games with a lot going on, and Beaky is no exception. There's a very long and amusing set of instructions with the game objectives and methods of play very clearly laid out. It's just as well, because Beaky is hard to get used to at first. The controls are simple and good, left, right, flap and fire, but he has an inbuilt instrument landing system which means he operates quite erratically (it seems at first). Once mastered, the game stops being unfortunately hard and becomes plain hard! The Eggsnatchers, particularly, are well designed and animated, and the graphics throughout are very good indeed. There isn't quite as much going on as in DDC but saving eggs is sweaty work. At first I thought the fact that you can exit phase one on your own decision lowered the playability and point of the game, but in fact it's very much a case of too many or too few eggs. You have to be careful in deciding when to go on to the next screen. In the end I think Beaky lacks all the excitement and addictivity that Doomsday Castle had, but it's certainly a good game and very original and very playable.'

'After really enjoying Fantasy's last two productions I was really looking forward to this one. But I was somewhat disappointed with it. The game has great graphics (perhaps not quite as varied as usual) and it is highly original. It just didn't seem very playable or addictive to me. The bird is difficult to control so that you can get in good shots at your enemies. Perhaps Fantasy are trying to be too adventurous. Still it is above average to the point of being good.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: preset - O/P left/right, Q flap, M fire, E quit (to next level), but keys may be user-defined
Joystick: Kempston, ZX 2, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: smooth, large, detailed and very good
Sound: good noises, not too much of it
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
Lives: the magic you're given
Screens: 3
Originality: very original
General Rating: Quite mixed feelings between the reviewers - we felt everyone was trying to compare it ot Doomsday Castle - which ranged from above average, to good, to very good. Generally recommended.

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Screenshot Text

Above: the first screen. Below; the Froogle attacks.