HERE'S THE third collection of tacky games from the dank cellars of Automata. None of them could be a hit packaged individually, but ten games at £8 mail order - or a tenner in the shops, if you can find it in the shops - is a bargain by any standards.
There are eight arcade games on the tape, and two Quilled adventures - neither appear to be attributed to The Quill, but programmers tend to be devious about where they put the acknowledgement. Slapped wrists if it was omitted.
Pi-Meval Man is a jump 'n' dodge game of little interest - standard stuff. Swettibitz in Space is one of those games where you guide the spacecraft through a tunnel zapping aliens. It's lifted a bit by the confusing colour graphics, which will keep you on your toes.
Space Warrior, an invaders-type game, I found impossible to play. The invaders seem to swarm around your spaceship when you start, giving you no chance to make a kill.
Those are the worst games. Best of the bunch is Crazy Castles, where you travel over all the Pi-signs in each of 30 castles. It is extremely fast, attractive to look at, and contains a few tricks in later screens such as masked routes, where your character disappears behind the castle graphics to emerge elsewhere. You've also got to avoid the ghosts.
Necks Please is a rather sparse game of dodging Guardians in an empty space while collecting spells to use against Batula's creatures. Creepy Dungeons and Drunk Policeman are Jet Set Willy type arcade-adventures, and if you like such games you'll find those adequate entertainment.
Mad Hatter involves setting the table for the famous tea-party. Collect up the sweets and choccy rolls, but don't let the mice or the poison pills touch you. just to make things difficult, a pair of manic vacuum cleaners suck you towards them if you're not careful.
The adventure games are a wise inclusion, as the arcade numbers are unlikely to hold your attention for long, with the exception of Crazy Castles. Terry Braverman's Royal Adventures of a Common Frog asks you to rescue a princess from a dungeon. You start, a lonely frog, on a lily-pad. It's a long quest, a little lacking in humour or descriptive power, but the puzzles are certainly difficult enough. I did get a bit bored, however, with the sub-standard "I can't" reply to incorrect commands.
What that lacks in fun is more than made up for by Here There Be Tygers, a mad surrealist romp which starts when you stick your big toe up the bath tap and find a vampire leeching onto the end of it. A hilarious introduction sets the style, which involves quantities of strange food stuffs, lots of lateral thinking, and a mysterious quest which is not all it seems. Saving the universe is only the beginning... try wearing the silk undies over your jeans.
All in all, a mixed package - good value for money, certainly, but not outstanding. Worth buying as a stocking-filler, especially for Crazy Castles and Here There be Tygers.
Here There Be Tygers