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1985
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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21
Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Let me make one think clear - I don't like dogs! And this game features a dog, though it's a robotic one so at least it doesn't foul the footpaths. Poddy is the pooch and in theory he's quite invaluable, carrying things for you, blocking enemy robots - all the things you'd expect of a K9 clone - only I kept finding he was in my way or not waiting with me at a door I wanted to go through.

But that said there's a whole heap here that compensates for the robotic Rover's presence, not least being the plot line. This has the London of the future turned into a computing complex, a maze which gives new meaning to the phrase tangle of bureaucracy. However, if you and Poddy can locate the ROM card codes scattered around you can then disable the tyrannical main computer that's busy controlling various robots of its own to stop you. It fancies another 500 year term of office!

Probably the neatest feature of the game is its graphics, slightly reminiscent of Marsport though with depth, so that as you move into a screen it scrolls down and partitions disappear to let you see what lies behind them. That could be anything from the invaluable and inevitable keys to the more dubiously useful, though don't neglect anything, just in case.

As you wander round the corridors of power you'll come across certain problems that are beyond mere picking up. Now it's all down to icon control. While the options are varied it takes a while to get used to them all and they're not printed in the instructions, just via an on-screen Help. There are also several layers of them which can take some flipping through, though eventually they work okay.

All in all a clever arcade maze adventure with some original touches, and that includes Poddy - even though I found him a bitch!

9/10
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