Personal Computer News


Aztec

Author: Mike Gerrard
Publisher: Hill MacGibbon
Machine: Spectrum 48K

 
Published in Personal Computer News #088

AZTEC

This is initially an impressive package. There's cassette, booklet, wall-chart and keyboard overlay, all in a large cardboard box, for 7.95.

Your part in the game is that of Quick-lizard, a young Aztec coppersmith. You rush into your village after a strange dream and you find it deserted save for a hummingbird, which stops humming long enough to tell you its name is Hwee-Tsee, and that is has been sent to help you.

"While you were in the forest, evil condors attacked and took the villagers into the east," it tells you.

Aztec

> You alone escaped that but you must hurry to save your fellow villagers. Speed is vital as the sun is sinking slowly down the right-hand side of your screen, alongside which is space for pictures of the objects you are carrying. The remainder of the screen shows the way forward with a small text window beneath.

After the promise of "beautifully drawn scenes" it's disappointing to discover they are mostly black squares in the same style as the first crude attempts at 3D mazes. These spread before you, with the occasional cactus and a few walls blocking your view in certain directions. Your village is a 10x10 grid, and you're meant to map out for yourself what you find in each square, where the walls are, etc. As you're not told in which square you start out, it's difficult to begin mapping. You'll need eight such grids in all (they could have been provided as the maps don't alter!), because if you successfully leave the village you'll move on to the River Valley, the Aztec City and so on.

Apart from background graphics, you don't see what's in a square until you land on it, and these objects when they pop up are poorly done as block graphics... so called because they block out what's behind them! Perspective is confusing as you can always see the square you're actually on, so what appears to be slightly ahead of you to the right is in fact next to you, and switching viewpoint or moving forward is clumsily and jerkily done too using single key presses to move forward or turn left or right through 90 degrees. The adventure for the most part is little more than a succession of forward moves until, from time to time, you stumble across an object such as a key, a copper pot or some maize. There have been similar efforts from several publishers recently and Aztec, along with the similar and simultaneously released King Arthur's Quest, is not one of the best. It doesn't live up to the blurb, which promises "an imaginative quest".

Mike Gerrard

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