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Positive Image
Tom Cannavan
1984
Arcade: Platform
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Undetermined

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21
Chris Bourne

The Game, says the inlay, is to collect the golden cup from each screen. The cups are locked away so a key is needed. Other objects can be collected as well. Ghost Rider is a platform game in which you star as a biker with pedal power. There are six levels connected by fast rising and descending lifts at either end of the platforms. The main difficulty is timing to get on or off the lifts, and in avoiding the various hazards that float around on the levels protecting to collectible objects. A problem is that objects on each screen have to be collected in the right order and it isn't possible to ride a lift all the way round. Collecting the key results in the vaults containing the golden cup vanishing to leave the cup free for collection.

Completing the first screen moves you onto the second, more difficult arrangement. here holes have appeared in the platforms making the route more torturous. Each screen is played against a time limit and a fuel limit, and there is a petrol pump somewhere to top up, although why a pedal bike requires petrol is open to speculation! In all there are twelve levels.

CRITICISM

'100% machine code... real arcade action combined with strategy and adventure... a game for quick hand and nimble fingers... We've all heard that before, haven't we? Is it 100% m/c all the time in this case, I ask myself. This game is extremely similar in layout to Morris and the Bikers except that here you are pedalling. The graphics are okay but not ultra-smooth as they are moved by character squares. I would not agree with the word 'adventure' at all, but strategy' - yes. One must think ahead to use the lifts to advantage. As for quick hands etc, all arcaders have these virtues! Overall the strategy element (or thinking ahead) does give it a slight addictive boost.

'At first, it seems to me to be a very simple game, a very simple idea, but after playing it for a bit I discovered that there is a bit more to it than simply collecting objects, you need to collect them in the right order. Quick reactions are pretty essential as the graphic characters move by the block and can take you by surprise. Screens do vary but stay on similar platform lines. Colour has been used fairly well but it does lack something in both graphic and colour presentation. Overall, it turns out as a rather average game that may well appeal to the younger arcade player.'

'Ghost Rider is a follow up program to Positive Image's Bewarehouse. I preferred the earlier one. Because of the character movement there is a tendency for the program to be over-finicky, especially when getting on or off a lift exit. I don't know why, but colour characters on a white background such as we have here, always look a bit unsatisfying, and the presentation would have looked better if another colour had been used. Overall, a good idea which still seems to lack something in the playing.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Z/X left/right
Joystick: hardly needs it
Keyboard play: simple keys and reasonable responses
Use of colour: varied use, spoilt by use of white background
Graphics: imaginative and varied, not all that smooth
Sound: pedal noises and other occasional beeps
Skill levels: 1 with progressive difficulty
Lives: 3
Screens: 12
General Rating: Above average idea with medium playability, may appeal more to younger players.

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