Tansoft
Thomas Derbyshire
1985
Arcade: Maze
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Undetermined

121,122
Chris Bourne

This is the first game for the Spectrum that Tansoft have produced, having been previously more concerned with the Oric computers. Forbidden Fruit is a simple idea in which you guide a character around several screens to collect a key for the screen exit and various flavours of forbidden fruit for bonus points.

The screens consist of simple maze shapes filled with at least three nasties at any one moment, that parade about the playing area in pre-set patterns. At the top of the screen appears a graphic of the fruit you may collect next. On collecting it, the graphic changes to the next available fruit. To prevent you from being killed off, your character has a laser, but this only fires left and right, so timing is required to judge the right moment to use a vertical chanel. As you progress through the screens, the layouts become more tricky and the keys and fruit are placed more awkwardly.

The copy we were given to look at was an early preproduction version, so the packaging with its all-important blurb was missing) Hence we have no vitally interesting storyline to give you about the game which is so often designed to tell you about the packaging but little about the game!

CRITICISM

'There seems to have been a lot of maze games come out just recently; usually what you see on screen is only a tiny portion of the entire maze. Forbidden Fruits shows the entire maze, ie each screen is a separate maze of its own and one of many. The graphics are large, very detailed and colourful, each having its own predictable characteristics. Because of the fruit in this game and the meanies chasing you, you could possibly say that this is a considerable departure from the 'Pacman' theme. This game is simplicity itself but it does pose some problems in getting past the meanies to get out of the maze. I think this is quite good value for money and I was able to play it for hours without tiring of it, although it does depend on whether you like this type of game.'

'It's well worth remembering how poor the general standard of graphics used to be in some of the older, simpler maze games, because Forbidden Fruit has large and very nicely animated creatures in it - the visual factor that distinguishes it as a modern game. First screens are quite easy, but later ones get quite hairy and keep the interest up. Learning the patterns of nasty movement is a large part of the playing skills required, and so something akin to the game element of, say Manic Miner, is incorporated. I found it addictive and playable, not a major game to make your hair stand on end, but certainly enjoyable and rather more clever than it first appears.'

'Forbidden Fruit is a novel variant on the maze game, you don't have to collect everything to complete a screen, but you can if you want to score well. The graphics are quite good and detailed with colour being used well. The sound is boring and isn't really worth having at all, what little there is of it. Keyboard play is responsive but the keyboard positions are awkward to use. This is quite playable, and being only able to fire sideways adds a new dimension to the difficulty. It's quite addictive for a while, but you won't be playing it until the early hours of the morning. Overall, quite good but not in the terrific league.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: D/C up/down, O/M left/right, AJS fire left/right, Ito fire in movement direction
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: responsive, but a rather odd combination and fire is on the wrong side of the left/right keys
Use of colour: very good and cheerful
Graphics: good, clear and big with characterful animation
Sound: below average
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: unknown
General Rating: Above average to good, and selling at a sensible price.

70%
75%
75%
N/A
67%
78%
73%