Author: Dave E
Publisher: Visions
Machine: Acorn Electron

Published in EGG #013: Acorn Electron


Pengi is an overhead maze game which is closely based on the arcade game Pengo. It's the story of a penguin, a field of ice blocks, the marauding "snow bees" and an electrified fence border... and practically every computer or console ends up with at least one game of this type. And, when it's done well, it's actually not hard to see why.

I quite like this particular version, which comes from Visions software. The graphics and snowbees are cute, colourful, chunky sprites and it all gets very manic very quickly as soon as every game starts.

The first strategy for dealing with the snow bees is to crush them with the ice blocks that comprise the maze walls. You need to wait for a snow bee to wander into the "line of fire" and then press Return to kick the ice block in its direction. Except that the snow bees in Pengi seem to have an almost unnatural ability to work out just how you're intending to kill them off, and refuse to play ball.


Secondly, there's the electrified fence that surrounds the maze itself. If this is kicked, any snow bees that are near to it will be temporarily 'stunned'. Using this as a strategy, a stunned snow bee then needs to be crushed with an ice block before it has time to start moving again. (This never really seems to pay off and I personally never use this method!)

And in addition there are three "ice-diamond" blocks in each maze from which big bonus points can be had by lining them up with each other. These ice-diamonds can also be kicked around in the same way, but if you're concentrating on getting them into position, it's hard to also keep tabs on exactly what those pesky snow bees are doing. Lining them up only awards the bonus too, you still have to wipe out the snow bees afterwards.

One thing is for sure - if you stand still, you won't survive long at all. This is one of the versions of the game where the snow bees genuinely want to kill Pengi, home-in on him and crush ice blocks of their own to create a path to where he is standing.


Moving is easy (ZX*?) and, when you push an ice-block, it skids across the screen so quickly that no snow bee in its path stands a chance. The only downside to this is that only three snow bees are ever on-screen at a time and, when you do take one out, another one immediately emerges from one of the ice-diamond blocks until the current level reaches its internal quota of the number you have to defeat. If you happen to be standing next to the very ice-diamond from which the new snow bee emerges, you'll be instantly deaded.

Overall, it's a reasonably addictive game. The skill is in trying to remember all the different rules at the same time and minimise the risk of a snow bee getting too close. Luck does play a part sometimes but if you concentrate hard, you can start getting to higher and higher levels with practice.

The physical cassette of Pengi comes up fairly regularly in the usual places and has sold for everything from £1-£8. It's probably "worth" nearer to the top end of that scale as it plays a good game. Even though there are other games of the same type on the Electron, Pengi is the closest to the actual arcade version.

Dave E

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