No Prize For That Tape...
Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge, from Martech, is a series of games in the Micro Olympics style.
You compete against Brian Jacks, judo and TV Superstars champion, in eight events - swimming, canoeing, archery, cycling. 100-metre sprint, arm dips, squat thrusts and football.
You start on level 1. Accumulate more points than B.J. over the eight events and you proceed automatically to the next level.
The scores do not re-zero at the start of each level, so it is possible to obtaina large enough lead in the early levels to enable you to stay in front until you have completed level 8 (the highest), after which you find yourself back on level 1, and round you go again.
Archery and football are the only events which rely mainly on skill and judgment. To do well in the other events you need to be adept at flicking the Z and X keys or waggling the joystick from side to side.
So much for the software. The cassette comes in a nice plastic case which closes securely and little fingers will have great difficulty opening it - a definite plus if there is an inquisitive toddler in the house.
The instruction sheet includes instructions for the Commodore 64 and the Spectrum (am I allowed to mention them in your magazine. Mr Editor?) as well as the Electron and the BBC B. The introduction says: "The instructions have been kept to a minimum" - Frankly, I think, they are inadequate.
The biggest problem with this program was the tape itself.
This has the Electron version on one side and that for the BBC (the one we tested) on the other, so you have no back-up.
The first time we tried it with CH."" it loaded perfectly apart from one block which went in at the second attempt.
The only other time we managed to get it in from the original tape I had to sit there cleaning the recorder head almost continuously. It appears that the tape is sub-standard and was shedding its magnetic coating.
The main program is probably one of the best of its type. What a pity the same care wasn't taken with the sound and the instructions. And as for that unmitigated disaster of a tape...