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CDS Microsystems
Not Known
1984
Arcade: Action
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

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123
Chris Bourne

The first computer heroes were simply 'you', now players are offered a plethora of names and characters. The lates from C.D.S. is Cedric - that's 'you' - who looks like a bear (bears seem to be a favourite). The screen contains 176 squares or pale blue tiles on a black ground in an eleven up by sixteen across grid. Ten squares are occupied by skulls and crossbones and six by little flags on posts. In another sits Cedric and somewhere on the screen, one square is taken up by the yellow timebomb.

The time bombs are no joke - they start oft with a figure of 30 which instantly starts running down to zero, but not in seconds. The time actually allowed is more like five seconds. The object is to move Cedric around the screen and reach the time bomb before it goes off. When Cedric touches a square he erases it, and as he cannot move onto an already blanked square, this tends to make life difficult, especially with six bombs to defuse per screen. Fortunately it is possible to scroll a horizontal row along, which means you can get Cedric to a spot nearer the bomb and avoid the blank squares. The screen wraps around vertically and horizontally.

Scoring is ten times the points remaining on any bomb when defused, steps taken, and bonus points for flags collected. Skulls, naturally, kill. After screen one has been cleared, screen two offers another hazard in the form of yellow boots which also kill on contact. The boots increase per screen to a maximum of four.

CRITICISM

At first glance this game looks colourful and fun but fairly simple. Playing it for a few minutes convinced me otherwise. It's still fun but not that easy. It's a bit like those word puzzles where there is one gap left for you to shuffle the squares up and down to make words. The scroll facility actually makes the game more skilful in a way - and possible, because of the time limit. When you've defused a bomb, another appears randomly, which gives you a second to spot it, the hazards in between and the best route, then four seconds left to get there. It's all very frenetic, and by the time there are four dancing boots leaping about as well, the screen gets busy enough to make it hard to spot the wretched bomb. More addictive than I first thought.'

'This is an original game with plenty of appeal - the graphics, although simple and unanimated, look neat, bright and clean. The keys are well laid out, with two playing options and it has one of the best Hall of Fame entry methods I've used. It's fun to play, but has the drawback of being a high points only scoring game once you get the hang of it, therefore, a bit low on addictivity, but very good for the 16K.'

'Graphics are simple but effective and the sound is great, nice continual step by step tune and wonderful 'boing' noises when you defuse a bomb. The scrolling is done by holding down a scroll key and using the direction keys for left or right. If you scroll next to a skull and don't get the timing right, you can easily stop scrolling, go into move and run into the skull. I wouldn't say it 's a maior game, to be honest, but I did find trying to beat the hi-score became something of an obsession for an hour. Buy it if you like the idea, but it should be a big hit with kids'.

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/Z = up/down, I/P = left/right, B to SPACE = scroll, or the cursor keys and 0
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, AGF or cursor clip on.
Keyboard play: responsive
Colour: good
Graphics: simple but good
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 5 (speeds, plus time bombs get faster) and more skulls)
Lives: 3
General Rating: A simple but origianl idea which will appeal to many players althought its addictive qualities may not be very high.

83%
62%
79%
82%
54%
65%
71%

Screenshot Text

Skulls, boots and bombs as the time ticks away.