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ZX Spectrum 16K

Chris Bourne

This tape contains four programs based on maze structures and is designed to help children develop spatial skills and forward planning.

In the first you must guide a rabbit through a maze, eating carrots on the way. This is fairly easy, the idea being to look ahead, and pick the shortest route to the exit.

There is only one proper route through. The second maze game is much more advanced. In this one, a kangaroo must be guided through, but the player must program the moves by selecting the required direction and then inputting how many moves are needed. The scope of the game expands with the player's growing skill, since the kangaroo's route through the entire maze can be planned and inputted before executing. To begin with a single move at a time can be executed by the computer. Incorrect entries are immediately highlighted on sound as well as on screen, while the entries made are slowly added in a column to the right of the display area.

The third program is called Picnic. Guide a hungry monster through a park and let him eat his lunch. The idea is that the monster should eat four items dotted randomly in the 'park', by visiting them in a pre-set order, and that this should be done without crossing his own trail or reversing on his trail. There are two levels, one with the playing squares clearly marked, and the second where the park is a solid area.

The final game is Frogs. Guide a frog across the pond and collect frog friends on the way. The 'pond' is a grid of 7 squares by 10 across. In some there are water lillies, and in some there are frogs. The object is to discover the best way across that allows you to collect more frogs on the way, remembering that you cannot cross a square with a water lilly in it. This becomes a surprisingly subtle game, since not all the frogs are collectable - some may be unreachable because of the positions of the water lillies.

All four games use the cursor, or arrow keys, which are easily identifiable by the child playing. The graphics throughout are large and brightly coloured. These games should prove very entertaining to play as well as providing a very real challenge. The Kangaroo game actually leads the player in the direction of programming as well.


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Screenshot Text

Carrots prove better than sticks at forward planning.