Publisher: Bug Byte
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #7


You are in low spirits - no, really you are, because your archenemy the dreaded and ugly Rapscallion the Rogue has seized your crown and castle and thrown you in the dungeon to rot. Aren't you feeling low? So starts Bug-Byte's new arcade adventure. Fortunately, there are a lot of friends around to help including the fairy princess who comes to you in the dungeon and turns you into a bird so that you can escape and begin your counter-attack. From here on in you are into a large maze type game which requires nimble fingers, quick thinking and has overtones of an adventure.

Rapscallion isn't just a maze game. It certainly contains small mazes, many of them, but each of the many screens is interlinked to form a larger maze. In each screen something different happens. There's the dining room with two gigantic faces, their mouths opening and closing, ready to catch the unwary entrant from the door of another room, there's the fiery furnace, the snake pit, the danger maze, arsenal and so on. Basically the labyrinth is split into three 'domains', the Wilderness, the Magic Labyrinth and finally the Castle. In the wilderness your quest is to find the key to the magic labyrinth. To do this you will need the power to see it and the magic shield to protect you from the sleepy guard. In the labyrinth you must find the pixie with magic eye which will enable you to see the three wizards who guard the castle entrance. You get into the castle when the drawbridge is lowered, but that will alert Rapscallion who knows you have escaped and is on the rampage.

Throughout the quest you make take the form of a bird or a fly. Each has its own advantages and drawbacks. Flies have little trouble with cats but are in danger of spiders and frogs, whereas birds are in trouble with cats and falling spikes but aren't too worried about frogs and spiders. Changing from one to another costs you a He. On your route you will encounter pixies who may be helpful if they're in a good mood, and give you valuable information. Here and there you will see gems, which when touched may also offer up information or an extra life.


Rapscallion is hard to explain adequately, because it contains many inter-linked complications, which is what adds the adventure element. But the tape contains an insert with quite comprehensive instructions as to what to expect and how to play Rapscallion.


Control keys: Q or P/A or ENTER up/down, CAPS or SYM/SPACE or Z left/right, 1 or 0 to change
Joystick: ZX 2, Kempston, Fuller, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: Good positions, very responsive
Use of colour: Very good and varied
Graphics: Large, chunky, varied and smooth moving
Sound: Excellent
Skill levels: One
Lives: Six at outset
Originality: Very original

Comment 1

This is an exploring/ adventure game. It has many locations which are very varied, which means the game has enough changes in it to make it exciting. The graphics are of a 'teletext' type, ie. chunky. This seems to work rather well. They call it an animated cartoon adventure. It's definitely a great animated explore but not a true adventure. I enjoyed it, think it will be a hit, and want to come back for more.

Comment 2

What surprised me at first with this game was the use of 'teletext' type graphics, which move in blocks! Despite this you have the advantage of moving smoothly. Several things in the game impressed me and surprised me - running into an electric force field allows you to move around the rooms at a much faster rate for a considerable time. Pixies seem to be very happy and informative and these add a nice touch to the otherwise aggressive game. I think that this game has many adventure qualities where several items must be found before finding your way into the next stage. Sound and colour have been well used. A game that is enjoyable with long lasting appeal.

Comment 3

A neat touch occurs when you lose a life. You turn into a ghost. No you're not exactly dead, in fact you carry on wandering around the place without getting harmed by anything. On the other hand you can't do anything towards finishing the game either, so it's back to your body, press the change key, and hey presto, you're back again, bird, fit whichever. The graphics look more like the blown up drawings of Spectrum graphics you see on a designer's pad than the ones we are used to - a bit like those used on Oracle or Ceefax on TV. Very clever, but all quite well animated and detailed. Rapscallion has a lot going for it with all the locations and does require a bit of forward thinking to make best use of your lives/ changes to get through. Original and playable with quite a lot of addictivity. I would recommend it as a good game, although overall I wasn't sure whether to be impressed by the graphics or disappointed - not that they spoil the game anyway.

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