Four Classic Arcade Games For The BBC B (Ganymede Systems) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

Four Classic Arcade Games For The BBC B
By Ganymede Systems
BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 1.05

Four Classic Arcade Games For The BBC B

The title could not sum up this package better if it tried. Four classic arcade type games are supplied to give more hours of fun and frustration to all the family.

'Classic', in this case, does not necessarily mean 'the best of'; it does in fact mean the 'originals', or good versions of, the pub games you now no longer see, such as Tennis, the very first of the video games, being very simple to understand, and compared with other more recent arcade games, very tame and plain!

The game of Tennis is based around the principle of a 'bouncing ball' being knocked backwards and forwards between either you and your Beeb or you and a friend. If you choose the computer as a partner then you have five levels of its skill to choose from, ranked from 1-easy to 5-hard, and once you have chosen that you also have the choice of ball speed, again 1-5 with 5 being the fastest. The choice of using joysticks as an added advantage, and very useful. On-screen scoring and the addition of a little colour add to what is otherwise a rather mundane sort of game, as I said, a close approximation to the original!!

'Break-out' is another one of the old original type of arcade game, the idea being to move your bat across the bottom of the screen deflecting back a bouncing ball, which in turn 'knocks out' one of the multi-coloured bricks that dominate the top part of the screen. The more bricks you knock out, the more points you get, and the higher the level of bricks again, the greater number of points. One of the most unique features of this game, and the most gratifying, is when you manage to knock one of the top rows of bricks out and the ball goes crazy demolishing the wall from the top... it also helps your score a lot!

When you have manage to dispose of one wall, another wall will appear, but lower down the screen, until you have used up all of your three lives through missing the ball. This has to rate as one of the most addictive games ever written, and this particular version is no exception.

The Ganymede version of that all-time best seller, 'Invaders', is a very fast action one indeed. Written in machine code, it is one of the fastest games I have ever come across. With the sacrifice of a multi-coloured display, a very high resolution single coloured screen mode is used, with great effect; the Martians relentlessly stomping their way across your screen to the accompaniment of those dreaded sound-effects used, if slightly too loud, to great effect. The usual three protective bases are there, shielding you from the mass of dropping bombs, and as the original, the space-ships randomly scream across, with a varying score for those who manage to actually hit them. After one wave has been defeated, yet another screenful appears - will Earth ever be safe from aliens?

Three lives are given, and together with 'on-screen' scoring and the high score being displayed at the top of the screen, makes the overall presentation very good.

Ganymede again provides many options with this game, with the ability to use either the keyboard or joysticks, and a choice of the speed of both your firing rate, and the bomb dropping rate of the aliens, and the ability to have machine gun firing to help you annihilate the little green monsters.

Finally on this package we come to, what in my opinion is one of the best games ever written, a version of that great game 'Pacman', called on this package the rather peculiar title of 'Pocman' (It sounds more like a bad case of acne than a game!)

Accompanied by some great sound effects, you must eat your way around a maze, munching little spots as you go, avoiding like the plague the four ghosts that pursue you at all times, that is until you manage to eat a power-pill, when the ghosts are said to turn blue with fright, and if you can guide your snapping mouth, using either the joysticks or the keyboard, to actually catch up with one you can see your score increase by leaps and bound.

This highly colourful machine code game is very smooth in its operation, providing a challenging game for even the arcade connoisseurs of this world.

In conclusion, all the games supplied with this package, are of a high standard in comparison with the originals. I do feel, however, the Tennis game especially could have been left out in favour of a more recent high-speed game. Nonetheless, you do get very good value for money for the type of games provided, and so this would be a worthwhile addition to anyone's software library.

Dave Reeder