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Psion Software Ltd
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

Sinclair have released a new range of educational software. This game turns out to be a rewarding mathematics game using the 'Painter' and 'Platform' ideas. The screen display shows six platforms connected by ladders. The player controls a painter who must be guided around the screen collecting numbers. These are displayed in magenta boxes and green boxes. When the painter passes over a box, pressing SPACE will collect the number. Those in the magenta boxes have a positive or negative value, while those in the green boxes will divide or multiply the total. This total is shown at the top right of the screen. On the other side is a target figure and the aim is simple enough, collect numbers to make the total equal the target. The initial total may be more or less than the target, so naturally the player must decide by how much to add or subtract, aiming to collect the appropriate numbered boxes to achieve this.

An extra sophistication is added through the use of multiplication or division. If you have, say, a total of 461, then collecting a division box of 3 will not work, because 3 is not a factor of 461, and this information is promptly displayed, however if the player first collects a figure of minus 2, bringing the total down to 459, and then collects a division box of 3, the total will be divided.

To make the game more interesting, there are holes in some platforms which must


COMMENTS be avoided. If the painter should fall through he is stunned and has to start again. On the right of the screen, a bucket is slowly hauled up on a rope. When the bucket reaches the top of the screen the given time limit is over and a life is lost.

There are three lives. The player may select which level to start play on, between levels 1 to 12, although the game will continue beyond level 12. On the higher levels the game gets progressively more difficult, with a wider range of numbers and mathematical operations, and a stricter time limit. One of the user-friendly aspects to the game is that each life is started after pressing SPACE. This gives the player time to look at the target and total figures as well as the numbered boxes, and try to plan a route to success.

Number Painter combines an educational aspect with game skills in an interesting and enjoyable manner. The graphics are large, clear and bright, with neat animation and some amusing between level sequences. The game itself is quite challenging and should prove involving for younger players, although whether the average 14 year old will think so is a matter open to speculation. At £4.95, it represents good value both as a game and as an educational tool to hone mental arithmetic and for use with calculators.

Control keys: A/Z up/down, O/P left/right, B to SPACE to paint a number
Joystick: Kempston and Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: good positions and responsive keys with the painter moving continuously
Use of colour: fairly simple, but clearly defined
Graphics: again, simple but clear, with good animation on the painter
Sound: walking effects and spot effects for number painting
Skill levels: 12
Lives: 3
General Rating: An entertaining and useful game of mathematics at a sensible price.

Not Rated

Screenshot Text

An unusual variation of the painter and platform game manages to make education into fun as well.