The Micro Mutant
By Compass
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Crash #93

The Micro Mutant

Professor Neil Richards is in a spot of bother. Y'see, he's been shrunk in size as a result of his own experiments (the clot!). However, not only has he shrunk he's developed a variety of powers.

He can change in size (although not back to his original size) and 'mind-link' to see the thoughts of animals and insects. Playing the diminutive prof, the goal is to reach your colleague's laboratory, enabling you to return to your normal size.

The Micro Mutant is well presented with a colourful loading screen, readable text and a few graphics sprinkled throughout. One of the highlights of the adventure is the wide use of effects which include white noise sound/visuals, a screen shake effect and the most wonderful screen wipes you're ever likely to see.

The Micro Mutant

To mutate, enabling you to change size, and mind-link, you need Power, Compass Software have their own 'PIE' system which takes you, from the adventure, into a mini-arcade game. The game itself is a simple affair in which you control a group of cells around the screen, avoiding the ends of the screen and the red anti-bodies. You build up your DNA structure by colliding with numbered cells. A cell numbered 5, for example, gives you five power points. A bit like a classic Centipede game.

I must admit that, although the PIE system is an admirable addition for those players who enjoy a little arcade actions, I hated it. It interrupted the flow of play - especially as, on occasion, I had to build up my DNA to certain levels to achieve mutation several times. Fortunately, if you dislike the idea of the arcade section, there is a cheat which gives you mucho power. Ask Compass Software, when you order the game, for the cheat, explaining that the arcade section is not for you.

Back to the adventure proper: puzzles were, at times, pretty mind-bending. It's unlikely you'll find The Micro Mutant a walk-over (even I had to refer to the hint sheet many times!). Another reason for the extra difficulty is getting used to using the mutate and mind-link enhances the interaction by bringing the other garden creatures into play.

The Micro Mutant's presentable front-end and nifty effects give the whole adventure a busy atmosphere. Although not the largest you're ever likely to see, it's very enjoyable - despite the odd inclusion of an arcade section.

Paul Rigby

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