A&B Computing

By Virgin Games
BBC Model B

Published in A&B Computing 1.07


Plankwalk is a game written in BASIC. It is "listable", and therefore looks rather unprofessional. The game itself is original, and is quite good fun to play.

The cassette contains two programs: A loader which prints the Virgin games logo in superb high resolution graphics, and the game itself which is CHAINed by the loader. Neither the loader nor the main program would convert to disc (the loader was written mainly in machine code, and the game was way too long as it used a high resolution graphics mode: even setting PAGE to &1100 was no use!).

When the game is first run, you are introduced to the objects you will meet in the game, and you are shown the little man you control. He is a little stick man (how unoriginal!) and is called Sid! You are given the choice of selecting one of the four levels and then the game begins.

When the game starts, Sid has to walk left and right along planks which are forever scrolling up the screen. Sid can jump off the end of the planks, and he drops down the screen either onto another plank, or, to his doom at the bottom of the screen. These planks sometimes have cherries on them (which look as though they have come straight out of Pac-Man) which can be walked over in Donkey Kong style to gain extra points. Little white blocks also have extra points in store, but you have to fall through these. A little black monster (which looks uncannily like a Space Invader) chases Sid over the planks, and, like Sid, the monster can be killed by hitting the top of the screen or the edge. While you are playing the game, there is a terrible sound of blips, bangs and crashes, worthy of a building site. It drives you mad!! As if you haven't got enough on your place without somebody hammering a drum kit while you are playing. However, this can be turned off by typing *FX 210,255 before loading the game.

To conclude, Plankwalk is an original game, but with all the items borrowed (?) from other arcade favourites, I expect the next game from this author will be written from jail, as he "doing time" for breach of copyright. The continual barrage of sound is enough to drive you to the BREAK key, and the graphics are quite jerky as they are called from BASIC. However, the game makes a welcome change from the usual, and is quite good fun to play.

Dave Reeder

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