Unless otherwise stated this review is not affiliated with any other website nor has the review been authorised by the copyright company or indiviudal author. As of 17th July 2017 this encompasses every review within ZXSR. If you would like this or any other review removed from this website, please contact the website administrator here.

Computer Magic
V.K. Hiam
1985
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

Other Links


80
Chris Bourne

The object of Volcano is to escape from an erupting - well, volcano. The game is quite different because it involves many different elements across forty screens above ground and 290 below.

In a sense it is a giant graphic adventure, where you control your man, guiding him around the streets of the threatened town, seeking useful objects from the buildings. Falling molten rocks are shown as red blobs which appear on the map scapes, while rivers of red lava slowly engulf the roadways, making your task increasingly difficult.

Generally you must escape o reach a boat and flee the natural wrath behind you. There are several maps of the town, with an animated character which you control. There is the medieval city with its various precincts, the commercial section and shopping section; below the city there exists a maze of underground passages which are shown in wire frame 3D. Back above ground, your route to freedom is blocked by dangerous marshes and jungles, and even before leaving the city you may encounter riots and get killed.

Useful objects are things like dynamite for blowing rocks out of the way or matches which will enable you to see your way underground. Food is also essential to keep up strength, which wanes rapidly. Movement control is by left/right rotation and forwards below ground, with four way movement above ground. Whilst perambulating below the surface, it is well to remember that above ground the volcano is still erupting, blocking the town's streets with debris.

Volcano has a random element built into the program so that, except for the first three screens, dynamite, lava, rocks, food and ropes will rarely appear in the same place twice. Scoring is done by time alive.

CRITICISM

'Volcano is a totally Different type of game. I can honestly say I haven't played anything like it before. As a game it isn't mega-brill, but it isn't asterisks either. The graphics are simple but serve their purpose. The attraction of this game is that there is a lot to it, there are numerous screens to be discovered. Volcano is quite fun to play, but I did find it a bit repetitive after a while. It has some nice features such as when you die it tells you how long you've been playing, while playing a catchy tune. The 3D underground maze looks uncannily like those 3D mazes you used to get from ZX81 games and some early Spectrum games, but this stage becomes very repetitive a boring after a while. Overall quite a good game but I think it's got limited appeal.'

'The main appeal of Volcano lies in its sheer size, because the graphics are not the sort that make you want to ay compulsively. Again, despite its size, you are confronted quite quickly by the inescapable fact that it's all been seen before on a smaller scale. The linked screens of the town make a large maze, where you waste time by going off the screen on a road only to find that it's a dead end on the next one. Herein lies the meat of the game, getting around fast enough before the ways are blocked to get all the things you need to survive. I found Volcano was quite playable but not addictive. Sheer size of a program isn't what makes a winner, and when you get down to it there isn't enough going on in the game to offer lasting appeal.'

'Strange game this. It seems to have a mixture of adventure and strategy and a good memory is required. The game seems to be of a very old type, according to the graphics, although essentially they are adequate. Many points of this game are unfair; one major example is when you fall down a hole into the underground passageways. If you are lucky, you will get three matches to enable you to see the map that you collect when you fall down the hole. This map shows you the way to the exit and also the starting position, but unfortunately, and unfairly, it doesn't show you your present position, so in many cases it is totally useless. Lighting a match enables you to see the map for approximately five seconds - hardly enough time to focus on the map, sum up where the start and finish are, and then guess where you are. I'm sure this part of the game requires you to have a photographic memory, not very helpful for 99.99 of the players. If you have unfortunately fallen down one of these holes you seemingly need no food, which now means unless you find your way out of this impossible maze of tunnels, you'll be doomed to stay there for the rest of your life (unless you turn the computer off). Perhaps this over-priced game should be re-written to allow for the novice player to have much more fun while playing this game - a quit key would be most useful.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: CIA up/down, O/P left/right (above ground), 6/8 rotate left/right, 7 move forwards (below ground), C - collect, E = eat, X = explode dynamite, r = swing on rope
Joystick: not stated
Keyboard play: not over responsive, but well laid out
Use of colour: average
Graphics: small, simple, below average
Sound: good tune
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5
Screens: 330 plus
General Rating: A very large game, but generally below average, especially at the price.

54%
44%
49%
60%
46%
33%
45%