Have you ever wondered how computer games find their way onto the shelves of your local computer store? If Wibstars is to be believed, it's amazing it happens at all.
In many respects, Wibstars resembles those trading/strategy games that were so popular a few years back, except that this one has strong arcade overtones. The first task for Billy Wibstar, entrepreneur and novice businessman, is to collect trading goods from a warehouse.
Three types of commodity are available: computers cost £100, disks go for a termer. and cassettes set you back a fiver. Billy starts off with £200 in small-denomination, used notes - borrowed from a sceptical dad. Goods are collected on-screen with the use of a fork-lift truck, represented by an Icon. This can be moved over to Icons representing the computers, disks and cassettes. Keeping the fork-lift pressed against the icon, increases the number of the commodity ordered. When the amount you want is reached - or you run out of cash - taking the fork-lift down to the exit moves the game on to the second stage.
This involves the loading of young Bill's van. The guys in despatch aren't particularly helpful though, flinging the items down four chutes in rapid succession, and forcing Billy to move his van back and forth in an attempt to catch as much of his order as possible.
In the third stage, Billy hits the streets. But another cowboy distributor has got away from the warehouse first and hogs the road ahead. This screen is a scrolling bird's-eye-view, not unlike Spy Hunter, where the two vehicles are able to move left and right across the roadway. To make matters worse for Billy, the van ahead of him has a loose load which is being strewn across the road. There's an advantage to be gained from this however, as driving over useful items such as computers, disks and cassettes adds to Billy's stock. On the other hand, useless debris causes damage which has to be repaired - another drain on his overstretched resources.
The final game section consists of a series of platforms and lifts as Billy attempts to deliver his goods to a shop. Items are only removed from the van one at a time, or, if he feels he's perfected the technique, he can chance an arm and grab the entire hoard of one commodity.
The package is kicked towards a conveyor belt, which should take it into a lift. Timing is critical, as the conveyor may dump the package under the lift and crush it - another depreciation of stock.
The final results of Billy's exertions are then totted up. If, after van repairs, he has managed to shift enough merchandise onto the shop's shelves to make a profit, he goes through the whole process again. We are, after all, a nation of shopkeepers, are we not?
'This has to be the most infuriating game of the month. I've been playing k for ages now and I still haven't managed to survive a day without being horrendously overdrawn at the end. Wibstars plays in a similar way to a lot of the pattern/platform games that were around in late '83; the controls are simple and completing the game requires more timing or luck than skill. If this was going for the bog-standard budget price it would be an average buy - as it's nearer ten quid all I can say is stay well away.'
'This is basically another platform game. The road sequence is too simple to represent any challenge, and the catching sequence makes little overall difference to the game. The platform sequence is, to say the least, infuriating. The random movements of the lift make the game very, very difficult to ever achieve a profit. The graphics are fairly basic stuff - small, lots of colour and iffy collision detection. And there's not a decent bit of sound to be heard anywhere. This isn't much of an improvement on the last A'n'F platform game Chuckie Egg II.'
'Haven't you always wanted to be able to take the role of a distributor? No? What a coincidence! Nor have I. This is a fairly poor game. The graphics are very drab and uninteresting. True, the various stages are very different indeed, but they have one very unfortunate problem - they're all as boring as each other! To be honest, I found the most addictiveness in the catching stage, but similar games can be found in most Spectrum books as listings, and only take half an hour to tap in. Expecting anyone to buy this is asking too much.'
: definable, up, down, left, right, fireJoystick
: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2Use of colour
: bright and variedGraphics
: do the job without being excitingSound
: poorSkill levels
: fourGeneral Rating:
The mixed game elements fail to add up to anything very exciting, especially for the price.
Billy Wibstar uses his trusty forklift to load a disc.
Having reached the retailers, it's time to unload the merchandise.