UNDERNEATH THE ARCHONS
The original Archon game, an enjoyable mix of strategy and arcade action, is now bundled with its sequel, never previously released on the Spectrum. Adept is the most complex by far. The game begins with each player (computer or human) armed with four adepts. These can be moved to practically anywhere on the board during a players' tum. Adepts can also create other creatures which can be moved around the board, but only in the sections in which they're created. There are four basic sections; fire, water, air and earth plus two void sections.
One way to win is for a player to occupy all six power squares. Four of these are constantly moving through the four elemental sections, while the remaining two are static in the void sections. Another way to win is destroy all the opposing player's Adepts - surviving created creatures disappear with the last Adept. To destroy an Adept, or any other creatures, a player must move one of his own creatures onto the target creature's square. The screen then switches to a Battleground display with the two joystick-controlled combatants alone, with just a few obstacles. Creatures have different attack patterns: Adepts fire missiles guided by the joystick; the Firebird emits a lethal force-field around itself; Wraiths are invisible except when they attack or play against the computer. Each side has different characters.
It is also possible to win by an Apocalypse battle. This pits two Adepts against each other, winner-take-all. The Apocalypse spell is accessed by clicking twice on an Adept given sufficient spell power. Other magic includes curing half of a wounded creature's injuries, weakening an enemy creature, and even good - for a strategy game. The original game (even without a Sinclair option) is much better - it got 83% way back in Issue 18. The sequel is marked below on its own, so readers without the original should add some marks, both for the original game and overall value for money.
STUART … 70%
THE ESSENTIALS Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair Graphics: the landscape is blocky, but the small sprites are well-animated Sound: various simple 48K firing and moving effects Options: four skill levels
'If it all seems a bit confusing at first, don't worry, persevere a bit with the slim instruction manual (and informative inlay card) and it all makes sense. In fact, my main fear about Adept is that it might be a bit too simple for much long-term interest. The original game is less complex but relies less on luck. And as with most strategy-based games, the two-player mode provides the most fun.'