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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Blockbuster is a computer version of the N game, and it's a good one too. A game to test general knowledge, spelling and speed of recall which may be played by one player against the computer or between two players. The general object of the game is simplicity in itself, but the content makes for a lively and playable one.

The screen is broken up into 25 six-sided blocks, interleaved like a honeycomb, so that there are five vertical columns of five blocks. The blocks are coloured yellow and the object is for the player (or player 1) to make a linked bridge from left to right or vice versa, while the computer (or player 2) does the same vertically. Player 1 makes the blocks turn blue with a correct answer and player 2 turns them white.

At the start of a game the players are asked their names and the skill level desired (1 to 9). Then the blocks appear with the central one being 'free'. Randomly chosen letters appear in the rest. The first player then chooses which block he wishes to conquer and a question appears below the screen asking the player to identify and spell out whatever word the computer chooses which begins with the initial letter in the block. The trick here is that the question is open to both players (or the computer), with player 1 using left hand keys to interrupt and player 2 using the right hand keys. It is possible to interrupt before the question is complete. An incorrect answer will award the block to the player's opponent, and the first to complete their bridge across the screen wins.


'If you didn't enjoy the TV quiz show, then you probably won't enjoy this computer version. But if, like me, you did enjoy the TV show, then there's a good chance that this will appeal. The nine skill levels should suit most players and the large-sized cassette box comes with a supplementary questions tape when you run the main loader out of questions. All in all a good package.'

'This is a very good translation of the TV programme. The game has several large databases providing loads of words and answers. Having skill levels is a great boon to the player if just playing against the computer - this effectively slows the computer's thinking process allowing for a single person to build up his or her skill factor. Colour and sound (sound can be switched on or off) is well used and makes the game more playable. Overall a great game for one or two players and can be recommended as a family game.'

'Blockbuster is an educational type of game that, because of the way it is played, is very entertaining. If you're playing on your own, it's quite fun to see the computer leaping in to make a guess before you and getting it wrong. Obviously the program hots up as the skill levels increase and the computer gets more intelligent. I enjoyed it, and although this is definitely not a game where addictivity really enters, I'm sure it will appeal generally to lots of people who want something to put on in the evenings when Blockbuster isn't on the telly!'

Control keys: very simple
Joystick: N/A
Use of colour: simple and effective
Graphics: Spectrum text on simple colour clocks with a time bar at the base
Sound: switchable, useful entry beeps and simple tunes
Skill levels: 9
Originality: hardly matters in this case
General Rating: Interesting, entertaining and overall, good.


Screenshot Text

The screen of Blockbuster.