Bob Chappell casts an eye over six Oric games and decides some are more ordinary than others
More like several games in one, this latest from IJK has you attempting to rescue the Princess Roz from the evil clutches of Zorgon. The only way to get into Zorgon's castle is by crossing the moat, which has first to be bridged by dropping magic stones into it. Each of the four stones can only be won by completing a mission.
In Bird Mission, you must catch hold of a flying bird which will transport you to higher levels and Light Bridges where you will find a stone. Beware falling rocks! Space Mission sets you zapping alien craft - the freighter carries a stone. In Spider Mission, you must avoid quicksand, leap for a dangling rope, dodge the spider, and watch out for an unhygienic bird. Quadnog Mission has hydra-headed beasties spitting venom at you.
After each successful mission, you get the chance to drop the stone into the moat. When all four stones are in place, you can enter the castle where a further challenge awaits.
With its excellent graphics and concept, this is sure to be a big seller. Undoubtedly one of the best Oric games on the market.
Another enemy seeking vengeance is our old fiend, Dracula. Although you are not the Lone Ranger, you do happen to possess a gun and a plentiful supply of silver bullets. You have therefore been elected to clear the various Transylvanian castles of their unpleasant contents.
What you see on the screen is a cross-sectional view of the castle interior; ladders join the various floors. Pretty soon werewolves will scurry up the ladders to greet you on the top floor - a silver bullet is the antidote. Ghosts can only be disposed of exposing them to daylight; a leap to a window at either end of a floor does the trick. Vampires are treated similarly but only when it is midday and they never venture onto your floor unless it is safe.
A pleasant enough game with good animated graphics. It lacks variety though - all you get for surviving is more of the same, only faster.
I have mixed feelings about this one. The game itself is quite good. It's a maze game in which, using single key commands, you do battle against monsters as you search for treasure.The cassette inlay is a different matter. It says the game is a start of the art adventure - it isn't anything of the sort. It is a standard, multi-level maze game in which nearly every room looks the same (three walls and doorways). The inlay has a grisly picture on the front which smacks more of sensationalism than artistic licence, and talks of hi-res colour graphics. The only interesting graphics come in the title/instruction sequence. Don't expect to see any monsters or objects - you only get to read their names (a small-print leaflet inside the case tells you there wasn't enough room in the program to use graphics to depict any of the monsters).
Finally the inlay say, in bold black lettering, 'parental guidance recommended for children under 16 years'. I can't imagine what they mean unless it's guidance on not believing everything you read - since this game wouldn't frighten a timid tortoise.
Hell's Temple the game is good value for money and is an enjoyable fantasy romp. I just hope Kenema does something about that cover - it could give the game a bad name, and that would be unfair.
From Tansoft comes this shoot-'em-down game. Stage 1 has mandarin-faced aliens dropping bombs down on your ship, which can only move left or right along the lower portion of the screen. If hit, the aliens release a fireball that breaks open a pen, releasing demented butterflies. You have a shield which affords temporary protection from the bombs, fireballs and butterflies.
Stage 2 has you firing at a device which, when hit, moves up or down and shoots sideways at stationary aliens. In Stage 3, you must manoeuvre your craft, frogger-like, through a steady flow of assorted spacecraft in an attempt to dock with a mothership above. Completion of this gives you the mixture as before, but with faster and more numerous aliens.
Not tremendously varied or original. Nevertheless, the attractive graphics and sound plus sensibly placed control keys make it worth considering if you're looking for this type of game.
If you're familiar with Apple Panic, the arcade favourite then Digger will ring bells. You scurry about a multi-level complex, shinning up and down ladders in your endeavours to transport bags of gold to the bank. Monsters try to catch you, but you can thwart them by digging holes, luring them in, and promptly refilling the hole.
You can take a shortcut to another floor by jumping down a freshly dug hole, if you like, as you have only a limited amount of time to complete your objective. Four skill levels are available and full on-screen instructions are provided.
The animation is rather jerky and the controls could be better placed. The monsters only differ in colour. Not a bad version of the game, though there are likely to be better ones around eventually.
In Dig Dog, Max the Mutt has to recover his buried bones (before the rats get them) by digging underground tunnels. Max can munch the rats if he has enough strength, otherwise they will munch him. And that's about it, really.
A graphically respectable dog doesn't make up for what is not a very interesting game. With little else in it to stimulate, it soon palls, despite Max's joyful spring across the screen at the start of every game.