Yet another great game from the main driving force in Acorn software (incidentally, this is B+ and Master compatible) and a winner from first-time programmers Martin Edmondson and Nicholas Chamberlain, of whom I predict great things.
From the eerie and beautifully detailed loading screen and from the friendly option screen where you can choose one of four characters according to preference - it doesn't affect the game, to the game's premise and playability, this is obviously a very classy piece of software.
Closest in spirit, I suppose, to a combination of Castle Quest and Repton, it uses Repton-style chunky graphic blocks to build up a castle on four levels; each level being 64 times the size of the screen. Unlike other arcade adventures, you are presented with an overhead view and this, together with the very impressive graphics, produces a real sense of involvement.
The game's aim is to explore the castle, collecting parts of a cross. However, there are a large number of complex puzzles to solve first with keys and tools to collect and use in the right way to open up blocked-off areas of the castle.
The levels can only be accessed on completion of previous levels via a well-designed status screen available throughout the game. This allows you to examine objects collected on your search and select the relevant one for action. As usual with Superior, there is a competition but whether you manage to win or not, this is still a game that will give you much pleasure.
Arcade skills are not as important as planning and thought - start mapping! However, I suspect that, like me, you may spend a lot of time exploring and marvelling at the design of the game. I've had access to a special review copy of the game which allows access to all four levels and the game does deepen in complexity and excitement the further you explore. Like all good puzzles, those in Ravenskull will infuriate you but, once solved, seem so obvious! There is still enjoyment to be gained, however, even when you know exactly what you are doing.
The game is bound to suffer, unfairly I believe, in the general excitement of Repton 3 but, if you enjoy Citadel-type games then this one's for you. An excellent game and, from first-time programmers, a miraculous one. If software as exciting as this continues to appear then Beeb gamers will continue to be very happy indeed.
Don't miss this one!