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Rankshigh Ltd
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

This name was reviewed way back in issue 9 under the name Block Busters A rather sad story is associated with it. When the author originally applied for a licence to use the name he rather got the impression that it was not needed, but the owners of the name must have changed their minds because they granted rights in it to an associate of the author who then was able to claim that only he had the right to use the title of the N programme. As a result, Ranks High changed the name to Wender Bender, which is substantially the same as the author's original game with a few differences. Firstly the blocks have been changed from the flat honeycomb shape to a more acceptable 'W' shape. Another improvement incorporated into this release is the availability of additional question tapes an extra one is already included with the program itself and others are available for £2.50.

Most people are probably familiar with this sort of game. The main display shows a block of 25 Ws arranged 5 by 5. Each node has a letter in it and the questions are based around that letter. For example a player asking for the block with letter R may get 'What R is a contest of speed ': answer 'Race'. Not all of the questions are as easy as that, in fact the quiz is a good test not only of general knowledge but of spelling as well since the answers must be spelt correctly when they are input.

At the start of the game you can select a two-player game or one player can pit wits with the computer. The colour selected by a player dictates whether he or she tries to form a line of Ws from top to bottom of the screen, or from left to right. For every correct answer you give the associated node turns into the colour of your side. Whoever answered the last question correctly will get first call on the next. Since the object of the game is to try and form a bridge of nodes between the two sides one would normally pick letters that are adjacent to each other but you could block your opponent instead. The computer keeps a score for both players and allows a game for as many matches as you please.


'The new layout of the main screen is in fact a great improvement over the old. It's much clearer and easier to read as well as being a good deal brighter. The addition of extra question tapes makes a good deal of sense since you could get bored if you had to cope with the same old ones doing the rounds time and time again. In essence the game is much the same to play as Block Busters but it is much more refined. Quiz games have a strange sort of appeal and I think that for those who enjoy them Wender Bender is probably the best general knowledge quiz game on the market I am mildly concerned that every now and then when a two-line question is printed the last few characters tend to drop off until the time up bell is heard. This can make some questions next to impossible but as I say that's pretty rare. All in all a well thought out and nicety produced game, well worth considering.'

Control keys: very simple
Joystick: N/A
Use of colour: neat and bright
Graphics: much improved but still with Spectrum text
Sound: lots of bleeps and a very sweet tune
Skill levels: nine
Lives: N/A
Screens: N/A
General Rating: Interesting and entertaining, well produced.