Play It Again Sam 11 (Superior/Acornsoft) Review | - Everygamegoing

Too Big Issue


Play It Again Sam 11
By Superior/Acornsoft
BBC/Electron

Barbarian

This is a conversion by Acornsoft of a game that was very popular on both the Amiga and Atari ST formats in the late 80's, it is a beat-‘em-up, with you playing the part of the Barbarian whose quest it is to kill the evil Drax and get back the beautiful girl. Well that's the thinly laid plot designed to give a reason to the mindless violence - but why bother? We all love a bit of gore now and again, especially as I've heard, ambulancemen.

Anyway, you have to fight various one-on-one deathmatches against opponents of increasing skill, I must point out that I am completely awful at this game, and whilst I do love it to bits, I still cannot get past the third opponent - oh well. To help you win fights there are a number of moves which you can do, blocks, rolls and ducks which are defensive, and then a range of offensive moves including (gasp!) a head chop move in which you can completely kill an opponent outright by chopping his head clean off - a humorous touch there follows were a little gremlin comes on the screen, drags away the body and kicks the head off the screen too - repetitive after a while, but nicely done! These moves are actually quite hard to pull of, and therein lies my problem, I have never been one to pull off fiddly moves with the keyboard, and I have no better luck with this game, although I am assured by certain people that a joystick is easier. What really gives this game an edge though is the option of a two player head to head mode, this is well worth it, and, as usual, it is much better fun to lop the head off of your best mate than it is to do that same to the Beeb, and you can reduce a beginner to tears by repeatedly chopping his head of as soon as he enters the game, but how quickly they learn :(

The graphics in this game are nice and chunky, the sprites move well with little hint of flicker, and the colours are not too bad (although they overdo it with the skin colour). It isn't one of the prettiest games around, but then again it isn't all that terribly done anyway. Sound is a minimum with just thuds and white noise for the swords clashing together, nothing more inspiring.

Overall, a great game, made even better with a two-player mode.

Pipeline

A game in the same vein as Ravenskull, but this time set on the moon of Io, orbiting Jupiter. The story goes that you have to collect as much sulphur as possible, and then get out of the various levels. There are about 4 levels to do, and although that may seem very few, I must assure that these are huge sprawling levels, and well created they are too, with many a puzzle on the way.

So, the gameplay is more or less a combination of Repton, Ravenskull and Citadel, hmmm you say, that may just work well, and it does. The music in the background is very nicely done, and very addictive, I always find myself singing some made up lyrics to it, just out of some kind of force of habit! You have to collect sulphur drums, whilst avoiding the mad flames who sometimes move around the level in different places, making timing essential. Then of course, there are the pipelines, which are abundant on each level, and consist of a mazy network of said pipes, and at times it can be frustrating that you never come out of the pipes where you want to. Objects are also useful, and there are hammers to knock through walls, and other such things. The gameplay isn't really that inventive, and it is displeasing at first to see how much of a rip it is from Repton and Ravenskull, but it blends nicely and you soon forget that.

Graphics are indeed impressive, nice and colourful, clear and bright, they look very nice indeed and go well with the mood of the game. Sound, as I mentioned earlier is excellent, although as with all tunes can get repetitive, but at least they pushed the boat out and made an effort on sound.

Another good game, by no means a classic, but worth a few plays if you luck a Repton puzzler.

Monsters

An old Acornsoft classic, this doesn't really fit in with the other games, it is just so basic, but it is not a bad game, and worth repeating on a compilation, but it really shows how far games came in just a few years of the launch of the Beeb.

Basically, the game just involves you running around various levels of the screen, linked with ladders, avoiding the monsters, whilst at the same time making holes for them to fall into, then killing them by filling in these holes. There are varying strengths of monster, some which require being trapped in two holes in a row before they die, and some requiring three. It is a difficult skill to acquire, as on one hand you have to watch for monsters falling into holes, and at the same time you have to constantly avoid other monsters on the loose. It isn't too bad, but you wouldn't want to play it over and over for more than 30 minutes.

The graphics are very basic, just simple sprites, but they are nicely done, and look professional. Sound is also very basic, just beeps and simple effects for being caught by monsters etc, not really anything above average, but then this was an early game, I think it was one of the first three available for the Beeb.

Not Acornsoft's finest, but it is good to play now and again.

Baron

An all-new arcade adventure from Superior, this was the first and only time you could buy Baron, which, depending on how much you like Arcade adventures is either a blessing or a curse. Not that it is a bad game, it just doesn't attempt to be very adventurous in its content, being an adventure it contains the usual 'where does this object that I've found go?' and 'how do I defeat the wizard when he is seemingly invincible?' questions, which, as always have their answers, sometimes being obscure.

The gameplay is pretty formulaic stuff, avoid monsters, collect objects, make sure the time doesn't run out, and generally get up to some adventure solving. The variety of monsters to avoid is not exactly huge, there are about 4 or 5 different baddies to get around, each one has its way of being avoided, although it is annoying the way that monsters come back after you have killed them, but then again it would be even more annoying if the game became empty because you had shot everyone!

Graphics are not up to Superiors best in this game, they look a bit samey on each screen, I don't think enough colours are used and it all looks a bit stale. However, they do attempt to make it better by using varying colour palettes for different screens, this is a nicer effect, although it does look as if you are viewing the screen through tinted glasses. Sound, again is minimal, no music as such, just various beeps and bangs.

I'm sure this was just hashed out to satisfy the Citadel fans, but it isn't too bad, doesn't come close to either Citadel or Castle Quest though.

Summary

This is not one of the most brilliant compilations, but there are no bad games on there as such, and it is definitely worth handing over 6 quid for, but it won't light any fireworks in the amazement department.

Russell Wills