Mangrove Review | Personal Computer News - Everygamegoing

Personal Computer News

By Audiogenic
Commodore Vic 20

Published in Personal Computer News #003

Battling The Bugs


Life, that well-worn classic amongst computer games, has inspired any number of imitations and spin-offs.

Here is one with an added twist for the unexpanded Vic 20, where as well as breeding and dying, the living cells which are the stars of the game must fend off attacks from savage germs.


You start the game with a number of cells, and your task is to move around, creating as many new cells in your wake as possible. But while you are busy adding cells to your swamp, they are equally busy being attacked by invading 'germ microbes'.

As soon as all the cells have been wiped out, the game ends.

First Impressions

Mangrove comes in either keyboard or joystick versions, both supplied on the same cassette. The packaging is fairly simple.

In Play

You move about the screen using a rather peculiar set of keys, if you haven't gone for the joystick option. The letter U takes you up, but you use N to move downwards. F or B to go left, and K to go right. I couldn't fathom out this thinking.

The sound effects include a heartbeat thumping which accelerates as the end draws near - an ideal way of instilling panic in the player, as the inventors of Space Invaders found.

I found that generally, the game doesn't last very long. The 'germ microbes' must carry bubonic plague or something, because they are so effective at flattening your helpess - or nearly helpless - cells.

You do have on defence against the invading microbes - just take a pill. You are issued with three 'smart pills', which will knock out all the microbes on the screen, but like all ultimate deterrents, they need to be used sparingly.

You won't get any more until you have notched up a score of 5,000 points for cells added, so you really have to plan your game ahead.


I asked the kids to try out Mangrove, but none of them liked it, and all abandoned it quickly. I think it might be a different story with adult players - the game's apparent simplicity will intrigue a lot of people, and I can see that this is one game which could be very addictive indeed.

Karl DallasMax Phillips