Triple Deckers consist of three games on cassette sold at one budget price, which sounds as though it must be a bargain. The three games on the first of the series are Grand Prix, Manic Mole and Day At The Races.
It will come as no surprise that Grand Prix is a motor racing game. You see a plan view of a track with four midget cars. One of these lethal machines is yours and it is locked in gear. Not only that - the accelerator is full on as well.
All you can do is steer round the track, avoiding the other cars, getting knocked sideways by collisions while the three computer-controlled racers hardly seem affected.
After five frenetic laps, the race is over and a result sheet gives your position. This is a simple game and not of outstanding quality.
Manic Mole is a platform game written in pure Basic. The aim is to collect a jewel from each room so that your girlfriend can be released. The only moving object on the screen is the mole - driven by you - so speed is quite good.
The first couple of rooms are easy, but then slides and dissolving platforms rear their ugly heads. Manic Mole is hardly eye-catching, but it is quite a neat bit of programming.
Day At The Races is a game for addicted gamblers. Choose your computer horse, bet your pretend money, watch a random race and collect your imaginary winnings.
I don't understand why anyone should want to do this, but for those who do, at least there is the satisfaction of a near guaranteed win - the bookies in this simulation offer incredibly generous odds.
Collection 2 in this series gives you Invasion Force, Haunted and Parachute,
Invasion Force is a simple, if fairly fast, space invaders. The Mode 4 graphics (just two colours) are rather dull and the whole process seems a little too easy. I'm not usually very good at shoot-'em-up games but I soon got bored with my own success here.
Haunted by Peter Scott is in a vastly better league. This machine code game has you rushing around a room collecting keys and other goodies while avoiding or shooting the meanies.
Success in a room leads you to a new and more challenging one with more problems to overcome. To keep you on your toes, there is a time limit as well. The graphics and sound make this game a pleasure to play.
In Parachute, a helicopter is releasing its huge cargo of lunatic parachute jumpers. These idiots are jumping into a river which is well stocked with man-eating sharks.
You can save these unfortunate half-wits if you manoeuvre your raft to catch them and then transfer them to the jetty.
But you can only carry one parachutist at a time and they arrive thick and fast, so speed and care are required. Parachute is not a brilliant game: The animation is jerky, and the choice of colours makes the parachutists hard to see.
Triple Decker 3 brings us Lunar Invasion, Jam Butty and Lunar Lander.
Lunar Invasion is set on the surface of the moon. You have volunteered to fight off the invaders, armed with a type of buggy and an anti-aircraft gun. Wave after wave of aliens stream past-some are harmless, mere target practice, but others produce lethal showers of missiles.
Any hit from these reduces your shield and the game is over when you have no shield left. Good sound and smooth, fast graphics make this game a winner.
Jam Butty is another platform game. Your aim is to pinch all the sandwiches from a building site while the workers are holding a meeting.
This game has lots of smooth sprites, but control ofyour rather plump man is difficult. I have yet to complete the first room. The game is well laid out, with good title pages and pleasing sound which can be turned off.
The final program is Lunar Lander, which is very much a make-weight. The landing craft has the usual left, right and up controls, and it must be landed on the flat part of the screen at a very low speed. A further aim in this version is to use a minimum quantity of fuel.
Unfortunately, the graphics are far too jerky and the sound is horrid as well: There are plenty of better lander programs around.
Overall these three packages do represent reasonable value for money. Perhaps the first is poorer than the others but Haunted and Lunar Invasion could easily stand as budget games in their own right. The extra games can then be regarded as something of a bonus.