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1986
Arcade: Maze
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

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74,75
Max Phillips
Chris Bourne

Thingy and the Doodahs? Yeah, it's one of them cheapie wotsits based on whatyamacallit-type game. Usual sort of blobby things legging it round a vast number of rooms. You've got to trog round avoiding them and collecting the lobbies scattered about. And all with only one more life than the average cat.

But wait a mo... this one's triff! You'll need every trick in the book because programmer Mike Smith (no relation?) has used every one in his.

Talk about split-pixel positioning - you often need to nudge right up into the attribute space of a killer baddie before you can make a dash past it. And some of the rooms require you to move at incredible speed as well as with super precision.

But the mix of easy-peasey, fiendishly difficult and downright impossible is really well balanced to get you started quickly and then keep you glued to your set for days. There's 64 so-and-sos to collect, of which you need 60. But they're scattered through over 200 rooms, including an extensive forest maze. So rest assured this ain't no ten-minute wonder.

As the title might suggest-the plots a teensy bit weak and the vaguely plausible rooms rapidly degenerate into sub-Jet Set Willy humour and complete weirdities. There's even a little moralising: a "Drugs' room full of 'Say No' signs, that leads, among others, through 'Driving Drunk to 'Killer Fags'.

This last one's a toughie - the fag packets littered around are lethal (unlike the background graphics in other rooms) and the only exit throws you back into the path of a hypodermic in 'Drugs', where you'll soon get the point!

Okay graphics, okay sound okay with a joystick (better with a rubber keyboard) and about as original as sliced bread but utterly addictive. Incredible fun and a steal at £2.99. Well worth a thingimajig... dooberies this juicy don't grow on trees you know.

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