Arac (Addictive Games) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

By Addictive Games
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #36


Arac is a droid. Humble, one-legged, armed with only a net-firing nozzle. Arac is also a droid with a mission, to infiltrate the citadel, fend off the robot guards, and deactivate the reactors before meltdown. He's got 30 minutes to do it.

Droids, robots, citadels, reactors... Yep, the plot scores absolutely zilch for originality. Never mind. The graphics and gameplay more than make up for it. Arac is a winner.

Obviously mere nets aren't going to much impress the robot guards and their plasma bullets, so Arac is going to need some help. Off he slides into the maze of overgrown paths and walkways which skirt the citadel, in search of the two telescopic legs and the glowing red power globe which, when combined, transform the simple Arac into... the hyper-mobile and deadly Arachnidroid.

The undergrowth teems with life-forms: Big Borers lunge from rock faces, pincer-jaws clacking; buzzing Stingers constantly manoeuvre for attack; Malevolent Men of War drift lazily, tentacles dangling to give a sudden, energy-sapping whiplash.

And there are the harmless flapping Rays and the peculiar, pink and industrious Rock Hoppers. Most of these creatures Arac can ensnare with his net, removing them to a cage from whence they can be summoned as the need arises.

The forest holds one other surprise, The Fist, a massive clenched hand of stone. Getting The Fist to release its secret is essential if Arac is to complete his mission.

Once Arac has discovered both limbs and power globe, he can change at will into Arachnidroid, with its stalking walk and lethal energy bolts.

Arachnidroid is invulnerable to the Stingers and Men of War. More important, it can take out the robot sentries which zap back and forth along the corridors of the citadel.

Big Borers are easily netted, provided you're already teased them from their hideaways. But Stingers, which hover only briefly, take longer. Capturing Rock Hoppers is like shooting fish in a barrel. Rays, for some reason, are decidedly tricky - they never stop moving and the net has to close over them at precisely the right point. Men of War cannot be caught within first stunning them with an energy bolt from Arachnidroid, and you've then got less than five seconds in which to transform back to Arac and accurately drop a net over one.

Once caught, creatures can be summoned, only one at a time, by freezing the game and using the icons then displayed. Arac changes to Arachnidroid in the same way.

Drawing a map of the 100 screens is essential, and soon you'll be able to make the six locations where the two Arachnidroid legs are likely to be found. Once you've found one leg you'll know where the other is. The power globe is always in the same place, and if you're lucky enough to find the legs en route then it's possible to assemble Arachnidroid in under four minutes.

Your initial foray into the citadel is best done in Arachnidroid mode, as Arac doesn't stand a snowball's against the swift-moving robots which instantly home in on intruders. Arachnidroid borrows energy from Arac, but consumes it fast, especially when upside down, and it must constantly revert to Arac if the borrowed energy is not to be lost.

What with the robots' plasma bullets, which drain energy too, and impassable electro-magnets, Arac's life inside the citadel tends to be brief and hectic.

Fortunately the game includes the option of a short twenty minute version, in which you start with Arachnidroid already assembled, and one animal of each kind inside the cage. This is useful for beginners, as it allows you to enter the citadel immediately, but as you become more adept you'll opt for the thirty minute long game as you can assemble Arachnidroid and catch a great number of animals in well under ten minutes. You'll also achieve a greater percentage this way.

Graphically accomplished, instantly playable and yet addictive in the long term, if Arac falls down anywhere it is the lack of music and in relying upon a stale storyline.

The absence of a jingle doesn't bother me - sound is generally used to good effect otherwise - but if only Addictive Games had spent as much time on the plot as on other aspects of the game, then Arac might have been outstanding.

Bill Scolding

Other Commodore 64 Game Reviews By Bill Scolding

  • Sidewalk Front Cover
  • Deadringer Front Cover
  • Mandroid Front Cover
  • Out Of This World Front Cover
    Out Of This World
  • Big Trouble In Little China Front Cover
    Big Trouble In Little China
  • Deliverance Front Cover
  • Stifflip And Co Front Cover
    Stifflip And Co
  • Orpheus In The Underworld Front Cover
    Orpheus In The Underworld
  • Exolon Front Cover
  • Vampires Empire Front Cover
    Vampires Empire