Sinclair User

Repton Mania

Author: Chris Jenkins
Publisher: Superior
Machine: Spectrum 48K/Plus

Published in Sinclair User #85

Repton Mania

Repton and its sequels were among the most popular games ever released for the BBC B micro. If that isn't enough to put you off the Spectrum version, it certainly should be; the Beeb's reputation for unimaginative, graphically primitive and badly designed games is second to none. Tremble with horror, then, as you read these lines from the blurb for Repton Mania; "The gameplay and screens are similar to the BBC version." Aaargghhh! Too right they are, matey!

Just to make things worse, Repton is a variant of what must be the most overrated game in the history of the Universe, Boulderdash. If moving around the screen picking up diamonds and trying to avoid rocks falling on your head is your idea of a good time, I suggest you submit to an immediate brain-scan.

Repton Mania consists of the two games: Repton and Repton 2. The two games have a lot in common; the central frog-like character Repton, the flat top-down graphics, the dreadful blocky designs, the awful Woodentops-style animation, horrid ragtime music, and the primitive sound effects. In each game the aim is to move Repton around a cavern, digging through the earth, picking up diamonds and avoiding hazards, aiming to complete each screen within a time limit, upon which you are given a code-word for the next level. There's a map display which is accessed by pressing ENTER/M.

Hazards including falling boulders which squash you if you dig out the earth beneath them; eggs which hatch out into Repton-seeking dragons; flying sparks and the like.

In the second game, the imaginatively-titled Repton 2, the main differences are the additional hazards; deadly skulls, meteors, monsters and spirits. The aim here is to collect all the earth (honestly), all the diamonds, all 42 pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and to kill all 18 monsters. To do this you must use all 64 transporters, which transfer you via a Spectrum Basic-style whirly screen effect into hidden sections of the labyrinth.

In Repton 2 there is no time limit to any of the sections, but some diamonds are hidden in safes which can only be opened by finding keys.

It would be nice to be able to find something nice to say about Repton Mania, but when even budget games now routinely feature excellent graphics, sophisticated sound and complex gameplay, it's hard to see any virtue in this outmoded antique at £7.95. There may well be some people out there who love the Boulderdash format so much that they're willing to overlook the failings of what is in effect a two-year-old 32K BBC B game, but if they are, they have my sympathy.

Overall Summary

Really dreadful duo of Boulderdash balderdash.

Chris Jenkins

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