Well, here we are. The very last issue of EUG and my very last Elk Ent article. Who would have honestly thought that in 2002, people would still be playing BBC and Electron games? Not me! It can certainly be seen as testament to how well-made the games were, as well as the relived interest in the Electron through the emulation scene.
As I've said before in this column, glance at the Elk games catalogue and it is apparent it wasn't the most blessed machine in such regard. Whilst the other 8-bits were enjoying a whole plethora of arcade conversions and exciting shoot-'em-ups, we were still getting Palace Of Magic-style arcade adventures and Repton after Repton. Not that this was actually a bad thing. It just felt at times like the games developers didn't want to push the technology forwards, let alone take any risks.
However, we are blessed with a good number of classic games. Before I give you the last batch of cheats and sign off, here are those I still find the time to play today.
I don't think that there is any game that has managed to touch so many people and inspire generations of games programmers. Without a doubt, Elite was one of the most important games to have ever been written. Truly ahead of its time when released, it allowed total freedom with no goal, on the Electron version, other than becoming one of the "Elite". Nothing at Elite's release came close to it in terms of sheer quality of game, graphics and idea. I still have fond memories of not believing my friend who was playing Elite that he was actually using an Electron computer. I thought the graphics were just too good! After many months of playing, and never getting bored, I achieved Elite status. The format has been copied many times and improved upon with additional features but nothing ever came close to the experience of playing the original in the mid Eighties. I understand moves are afoot to bring it to the Elk on disc format soon too although the .uef format version is just peachy.
I was never a great fan of arcade adventures on the Electron. The samey puzzles and graphics years after the release of Citadel didn't inject the new life that the genre needed. So imagine my surprise when Exile came out. An arcade adventure game for the next generation. On the face of it, Exile appears to be a vast, scrolling arcade adventure with great graphics and sound. But it is much more than that. Not only does the game contain a vast map but the enemy are intelligent. Where games such as Citadel have enemies that simply home in on you (the monks for instance) and others just walk pre-defined routes, the Exile enemies were much more intelligent!
The enemy in Exile would investigate nearby noises, they had a true line of sight through the caverns and, more impressively, they could remember where their target was last seen. Couple this with puzzles that had no 100% fixed solution, squeeze it all into 32K and Exile, in my opinion, was an instant classic. Such was the success and appeal of Exile it was converted to a variety of formats, including the Commodore 64 and Amiga. To this day I have yet to complete Exile [Why not sit down with John McHugh's full solution (EUG #16, #17 & #18) sometime? - Ed] but I am still drawn to its cavernous depths many years on. A Turbo Electron with the ADFS disc version on it is astounding!
Repton 3, Superior
Originally Repton was little more than a rather obvious flickery Boulderdash clone. I found Repton 2 to be overly complex and I didn't have the patience to attempt completing the game. When Superior released Repton 3 I wasn't convinced I was going to enjoy it. I was wrong. I spent the best part of six months' worth of evenings beating Repton 3 when I should have been doing homework. In fact, my addiction to Repton 3 was partly to blame for my average GCSE results! The additional levels and new graphics of the later offerings never held my attention the way that Repton 3 had. I always felt the Repton 3 incarnaion had the best maps and puzzles out of all of the Repton series. It kept me glued to the screen until I had completed it. Happy to say it's available from www.stairwaytohell.com!
And that's it! It's been hugely enjoyable writing for EUG over the past few years. Coincidentally, the following cheats also exhaust my archive so the end has been timed perfectly. Always love to talk Elk though so all of you please keep in touch via Christian.Weber@ntlworld.com and, of course, keep on playing those Electron games!
Moon Raider, Micro Power - Infinite Lives
For infinite lives in the Electron's best version of Skramble, just put the cassette into the recorder and type the following:
>*LOAD GAME >?&1930=&FF >CALL &1900
Swoop, Micro Power - Infinite Lives
To play things a little easier in Micro Power's Swoop, enter the following with the tape ready to go:
>*LOAD PICTURE >*LOAD MEMORY >*LOAD GAME >?&1B47=&EA >?&1B48=&EA >CALL &1900
Tactic, Superior PD
Here's the full set of level codes to Superior Software's Tactic:
Uggie's Garden - Superior PD
Here's the full set of passwords to Superior Software's Uggie's Garden:
Here's the full set of passwords to Superior/Acornsoft's Vertigo:
Christian Weber, EUG #62