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Silicon Joy
1984
Compilation
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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123
Chris Bourne

Silicon Joy is a division of Kevin Tom's Addictive Games, and it has recently released a few programs, of which Trio is one. Trio consists, appropriately enough of three separate arcade games on one tape, which means each game costs you a fraction under the budget price of £1.99.

They are Dracula's Castle, Ascot and Chaotic Caverns. In Dracula's Castle you guide a little black man around several rooms and corridors. Doors to the rooms are closed and you score points by opening as many as possible and by turning on as many lights as possible. The rooms are filled with swarming bats which will stun you. Finding and then eating garlic will turn you green, and while you are this tasty shade you can eat bats which also increases the score. Every hour on the hour (about 1 minute and 20 seconds real time) Dracula rises from his coffin and dashes around shutting doors, turning off lights and killing you if he discovers you. A large grandfather clock ticks away the game minutes and a chime is heard before Dracula rises.

The second program on the tape is Ascot, which as the name implies is a gee gees game set on the hallowed turf and may be played by up to 6 players. Each player is given £100 at the start and the player with the most money after 6 races is the winner. The smallest bet allowed is £1 and all bets must be in whole pounds, other than this there are no limits. Betting allowed is WIN, PLACE for a horse to come either first or second, or EACH WAY. When it comes to betting you are shown the number, colour, form, name and odds for each horse. Form is a line of six digits which indicate where a horse finished in its last six races, with the rightmost digit being the most recent race. If you wish to bet you enter the amount plus a letter to indicate which of the three types of bet it is you are placing.

Six runners are offered before the screen cuts to the track with the six runners animated along its length. Then after the race the results are displayed. Chaotic Caverns is a sort of grid runner-cum-painter game. A series of screens follow on from each other, showing a simple grid of white on a colour ground. You control a small car which leaves a trail of colour behind and the object is to colour the entire track while avoiding the chasers. These begin as two and increase by one as you progress from screen to screen. The screen layouts also become more complex.

CRITICISM

'The first offering, Dracula's Castle is a fairly reasonable game but not a game that will keep the average player interested for long. It may be of appeal to the younger player. The graphics are fairly simple, as is to be expected. Ascot is a typical, bet on the horses game. This has simple graphics, it's in BASIC too. Again, hardly addictive. Chaotic Caverns is a very simple concept using extremely simple graphics but it is frustratingly challenging, which does lead to a certain degree of addiction. It's great for sharpening the reflexes. Due to this latter game, the pack is just into the average rating.'

'Trio cannot be great value for money as the old saying goes, you pay for what you get, and if three games are put on one cassette for £5.95 then the games cannot really be of very high quality. This is borne true with this compilation. What is odd about this collection is that the games are very different from each other and not related one tiny bit to each other. Okay, this does give some selection but l think that people who buy games would have preferred to have similar types of games together instead of three unrelated ones. The games themselves are not of a high standard, just very average. The graphics on all the games are quite primitive, although Dracula's Castle does have some nice characters. Chaotic Caverns seems to me to be a very primitive machine code game, one that would be ideally suited to the ZX81. Ascot, where does this come into the collection it's really the odd man out? Overall, not really great value for money, and I'm sure there are better, cheap games on the market.'

'Compilations are hardly new, and with very few exceptions have never really provided good entertainment or value. Trio is sadly no exception to the rule. The most fun is the last one, Chaotic Caverns, but it looks ever so old. None of them is likely to hold the attention for more than a few minutes really.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: vary from game to game
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: average
Graphics: below average to average depending on game
Sound: fair
Lives: 3 except in racing game
General Rating: below average generally, not very addictive.

60%
44%
38%
58%
32%
49%
47%

Screenshot Text

The best looking game from TRIO, this is DRACULA'S CASTLE and the dreaded Count is still a-sleeping.