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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

As far as I can tell by wading through the solid block of text I have in front of me, vainly attempting to be the plot to Vampire's Empire, you have to invade the lair of the Vampires and try to kill them all with garlic and all the other usual tricks.

The game is made up of a large number of interconnecting screens, each one full of platforms, ladders, traps, all the usual boring stuff Usual up. down, left and right commands move your frantic little vampire hunter around the caverns.

Lots of things bar your way, as normal. Bats flutter around (flap flap) and make you lose a bit of energy every time they touch you. Little doggies race around your legs (woof woof) and need to be kicked away violently, in much the same way as Garfield. Coffins line the floors, and if touched, they release whatever they have inside them, which is either a large robot, who chases you all over the shop (beep beep), or a naked woman who tries to trap you with her, er, charms (snurk, snurk) and most of the time you find yourself sliding towards her, even when you don't want to.

Some screens can only be reached by falling through a trap, a trapdoor will swing open, dropping you to whatever is below.

The actual vampires are quite harmless, but almost impossible to kill. The only way to do this is by hitting them with a ray of light. The problem is getting the ray of light to them. It starts as a line of dots bouncing between four mirrors on the first screen. Using your magic weapons (see box) you have to direct, catch and carry this beam of light around the screens, with the ultimate aim of bouncing it off all the vampires. This is impossible. I know, I've tried. The ray has a habit of going exactly where you don't want it to go. I can just about keep it under control for 4 screens.

The graphics are well defined, with a very cartoony aspect about them, but they do tend to be a little unclear in places. Animation is fine, though a little on the quick side, making everything looks very jerky. This unfortunately has the habit of spoiling the overall effect of the graphics. Colour has been used simply, but there's still a lot of colour clash.

Sound is nothing special, as usual. just a blip and a blop here and there. Not the worst sound I've heard on the Spectrum, but I have heard a lot better.

Vampire's Empire is a game that could have been very good. As it is, unfortunately, it's not. The cartoony graphics and the somewhat original idea may exact a certain amount of interest, there's nothing really there to hold the attention.

Label: Gremlin Graphics
Author: Magic Bytes
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Cute idea and great graphics but it doesn't hang together.


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1 GARLIC CLOVES: When thrown, these stop any approaching monsters from coming any closer.

2 MIRRORS: You start with four mirrors, used to bend the light rays.

3 CRYSTAL BALL: With this you can catch the light rays, and send them out in a different direction.