Computer Gamer1st October 1985
Published in Computer Gamer #7
The Amstrad Program Book
There are lots of games program books around now for Amstrad owners and you probably feel a bit spoilt for choice. This one is definitely worth a look, though, as it seems to have something for most people and is quite good value for money at £5.95.
There are 31 games in this selection, with a good cross section of different types. Some word games and puzzles are included, as well as quite a few arcade-type games and one or two adventures. They are not all that original (are they ever?), but even though games like Minefield and Zombie Maze have been around in one form or another for a long time they are still good fun to play. There are also several here that you may not have met before, like S.I.M.P.E.R., in which you type in answers to questions about you and then have them analysed by your home computer "shrink"!
Clear playing instructions are given and there are "programming hints" with each game for anyone who wants to try developing it a bit further on their own. It's a shame there aren't any screen shots, as I always think it helps to have some idea of what your screen display should look like when you are trying to debug your keying in!
All the programs are of a practical length for typing in and the printout is nice and clear (not always the case in listings books). Unfortunately a few spelling mistakes seem to have crept into the listings - the gremlins must have been at work. If you get too clever and keep winning, the hints sometimes tell you how to increase the difficulty level to make it more challenging.
The programs are designed to make good use of the colour, sound and speed available on the Amstrad and there are some interesting graphics effects in programs like "Kaleidoscope". Most types of games are covered here. As well as the ones that I have mentioned earlier, there are some code-cracking puzzles, plenty of programs for people who like shooting down aliens and defending the universe and a version of Dungeons and Dragons that takes you through several levels of the maze, where you encounter 21 different types of monster.
"Fast Typer" is a game where you try to type faster than the computer's display - I can't think of a better way of getting keyboard finger, but if you type that program in first and then play it a few times, who knows, you may have increased your speed enough to help you type in the rest of the book!
The text is nicely presented, with large, clear type and some funny illustrations. Overall, this is a good, well put together book that you can't go far wrong with.