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US Gold Ltd
1985
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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26
Chris Bourne

Bounty Bob originally appeared on the Commodore 64 and Atari and is a follow up to another 64/Atari game, Miner 2049'er, the first ever platform game. In case you haven't seen Miner 2049'er (that's where Manic Miner came from) here's a quick history.

Miner 2049ser is set in the mines of Yukon Yohan, an evil swine who has dumped radioactive waste in the caverns and turned all the little furry creatures who stored their food there into horrible, marauding mutants. The idea is to enter the caves, steal all the radioactive stuff (whilst dodging the mutants) and escape. Bounty Bob is set in the same mines and the plot is pretty similar, although this time Yukon Yohan has left some odd bits of machinery lying around the mines, which occupy a total of twenty five screens.

Control, although being for a standard left/right up/down ladders and jump game, has a novel touch a variable jumping distance. To make a short jump, leap straight up in the air and wait until Bob's almost at the peak of his travel before pressing the left or right key. To make a long jump, press the direction key as soon as you press jump. This, although it takes a while to get used to, is an excellent control method, allowing you to do some pixel perfect jumps.

As you walk along a platform it changes colour. To complete a screen, you have to change the colour of all the platform floors before the time limit runs out. The difficulty level you choose at the start of the game determines how much time you are allowed for each screen, and as you move round a digital counter at the top of the screen remorselessly reduces your remaining moments. Progress is impeded by loads of deadly mutants trundling about the platforms. One touch from a mutant kills you, and you have to either dodge or kill them.

To murder mutants you need to collect one of the items littered about the screen and this adds points to your score. All the mutants turn green when you pick an object up, and a green mutant dies when you run into it. After a while they'll flash a couple of times and return to their normal, deadly selves. There are usually quite a few of these objects littered about the screen, all of them everyday things like radios, coffee pots and candelabras, but they have to be used quite sparingly since getting from one mutant to another usually takes a while.

If you lose a life on a screen you are reincarnated, as are the objects but the mutants you managed to kill stay dead. And you don't have to re-walk the parts of the platform you covered before meeting your end, which makes life that bit easier.

On some screens there are devices to help you travel to the more inaccessible platforms. These vary from conventional lifts to the more exotic matter transference beams that tele-transport you from point to another. Look out for the 'super energy food bars' if you eat one you speed up and your jumping power increases by a factor of three, allowing you to jump huge gaps between platforms. Very handy indeed! Slides connect some platforms, and when you step onto the top of a slide you go tumbling down the chute. Before you descend to a lower platform, take a good look at what's below you sometimes there's a rampaging mutant at the bottom and it doesn't do you much good landing on it if it's not flashing!

Within the game there are special codes and warps which allow you to start from different levels. These are revealed as part of 'secret messages' which pop up when you solve certain screens, starting with screen four.

When you get a top ten high score you can enter your name by bulldozing your initials onto a moving conveyor belt. Once you do so a load of birds fly on screen, pick them up and deposit them on the high score board. If the tenth score is beaten then it'll be dropped on the floor, bulldozed into a square and booted off the screen by Yukon Yohan himself.

The menu screen allows you to choose different skill levels and the number of lives and you can control a number of other variables, giving the game far more variation than you'd expect from a run-of-the-mill platform game.

CRITICISM

'This is a really fabulous platform game. I first saw It on the Atari in April, and then on the Commodore and was subsequently hooked. It's survived the transition to the Spectrum very well, and apart from the usual drop in graphical and sonical qualities has the same brilliant playability. The game has some highly original touches, making it fun to play and a real toughie to solve. The game is a classic and shows that you can't beat a good ol' platform game'

'Bounty Bob Strikes Back was, and indeed is, one of my all time favourite Commodore games. It isn't one that I thought would translate to the Spectrum too well, but I'm glad to say I've been proved wrong. The graphics have been reproduced as near perfect as is possible on the Spectrum and the game is as playable as ever. This is a refreshingly original variation on the platform theme and one that shouldn't be ignored by anyone seeking a complete collection of classic games'

'There seem to be many platform-type games on the market; quite a number are copies of arcade games, others are original. In both sectors there are good and bad games. This one is a huge improvement on its predecessor - MINER 2049er. The screen is well laid out, and uncluttered, although there is plenty going on. It is ages since I have seen a platform game with such complexity and with so many screens, each demanding a different skill factor. Each screen is also a definite progression through the game. Sound is well used, with some nice tunes now and again. Graphics are well drawn, but there is some flicker, such as on the lifts. I don't think that this spoils the playability. One of the more complex platform games around, this one could go down well with platform game freaks.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: 0/6 left, P/7 right, Z/O jump, Q/9 to enter transporters etc
Joystick: Kempston, cursor and Interface 2
Keyboard play: good, pity you can't define the keys
Use of colour
Sound: nice tunes and sound effects
Skill levels: 4
Screens: 25
General Rating: A good platform game which combines a lot of extra facilities.

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