Personal Computer News

Quack A Jack
By Amsoft
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Personal Computer News #091


This game seems to have undergone something of an identity crisis. It's a bit like Pengo and its derivatives, it has a level system and screen titles a la Manic Miner and it claims on the cassette sleeve to star one Red Jack, but in fact sports a white duck as hero.

To round it all off, there's a lot about this game that's quite original. It starts with the usual Amsoft fairly boring header but, later in the loading sequence, livens this up a bit with a jumbo character set, which is then used throughout the rest of the game.

The game is idiosyncratic in more ways than one. The duck hero, who is neatly animated and accompanied by a quack on each move, spends his time hunting out and crushing terraductile eggs (Amsoft's spelling, although I wouldn't have through pterodactyl was a copyrighted word!).

Quack A Jack

These provide the time element to each screen, and if Quacker doesn't reach each one within a given time limit, the egg hatches and its contents eat you.

To start with there are five eggs per screen and one vampire rabbit who makes vague attempts to impede your progress.

Stationary obstacles are described as cooking pots, but were beyond my powers of recognition. Piles of coins, which gain extra points, are similarly non-descript.

Quack A Jack

The cunning feature of Quack A Jack which lifts it above run-of-the-mill games, is the fact that as you travel about the screen hunting eggs, the flag-stones that you walk across are irrevocably damaged.

This means that, not only do you have to work out a strategy so as not to run out of flags to reach a given egg, but also that it's possible to cut off your pursuers (there are more of them on later screens) by tracing out an island.

To help you out, you can shift rows of flagstones left or right to try to fill the gaps you create. Later levels feature prawns, spacehoppers, Sue's Nose (poor Sue!) and no doubt other "Minteresque" nasties.

Definitely a game to be tried. It won't keep you going for months, but you may get some pleasure from it for a week or two.

Simon Williams

Other Amstrad CPC464 Game Reviews By Simon Williams

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