For the praise of Mazog
Reviewer Nick Pearce says he remembered seeing something rather blurred on a television screen on the Bug-Byte stand at a recent computer show - and it didn't look very exciting, so he passed it by. Now that he's had a good look at Mazogs, Nick realises how wrong his first impression was.
It's a pity I didn't take the time to study Mazogs at that show. Since that first glimpse, I've seen mentions of the program everywhere, and now that I've played it I know what a marvellous game it is.
Mazogs is really a great new concept in computer games for the Sinclair and, in my opinion, ranks alongside other such superb programs as J K Greye's Monster Maze and Psion's Flight Simulation. It really does show what some imagination, and a fair bit of hard work, can come up with for the trusty old ZX81.
Innovation, perhaps, is the key word. The majority of software houses are very clever at writing ZX81 adaptations of traditional games, or producing ZX81 versions of programs that were originally devised for its more expensive relations, but they rarely demonstrate real innovation. This, of course, is not to denigrate the very good and indeed necessary work that continues to be done by program authors. But it is software like Mazogs that is going to help change the attitude of that quite large body of people who see the ZX81 as just a toy, albeit a quite clever toy.
Mazogs is just the sort of program to impress your friends, and maybe convert a few sceptics into the bargain.
I will not explain the game in detail, as that might take away some of the fun. However, to whet your appetite, a *very* large and complex maze is involved. There are prisoners locked in the maze whose eyes blink, and who can guide you. There is a treasure to find, swords for your protection, and - of course - battles to be fought with those nasty creatures, the Mazogs.
The instructions lack clarity, but it doesn't really matter. You'll have great fun learning the game by trying to play it.
The game should perhaps carry a warning. For once, the description 'addictive' is an accurate one, and you will not feel much like relinquishing the television set to such things as BBC and ITV after you've had a taste of MZG. User-friendly aspects have not been overlooked in the program, and there is none of that frustrating blank screen wait while the computer is 'thinking' or setting up the game.
All in all, my conclusion must be that this is one of the tiny minority of programs which every ZX81 owner should possess, even if only to amaze those who are sceptical of the ZX81's computing power.
Mazogs, for the 16K ZX81, is available from Bug-Byte, 100 The Albany, Old Hall Street, Liverpool 3, for £10.00.