Commodore User

By Arcana
Amiga 500

Published in Commodore User #53


There seems to be no let up in the demand for trivia quiz style games, although all appear to need an additional hook or scenario to put the quiz element into some sort of context; Powerplay is presented, rather ingeniously, as a do-or-die battle of Greek Gods.

Explaining the game is probably more complicated that actually playing it. One to four players can take part, each taking the role of Apollo, Hermes, Hecate or Aphrodite. Each of these has four players, also characters from Greek mythology, on their "team".

The game is played on a board of 8 x 8 squares, coloured according to question topics: blue for general knowledge, red for sport and leisure, yellow for history/geography and green for science and technology.

Powerplay: The Game Of The Gods

Your characters move one square in any direction by answering a question successfully. The object is to manoeuvre the figures so that they can capture squares occupied by one of your opponents' characters. Before making your move onto an enemy square, you and the opponent go through a quickfire question challenge to fight for the right to that square.

The challenges take place in one of three different scenarios: the top of Mount Olympus, the depths of Hades, or in Medusa's cave. Get three questions right - or answer them correctly before your opponent does - and you win the challenge.

Answering questions adds to the character's wisdom quotient. When that reaches 25 points you may if you like, "mutate" that character into a higher grade player; there are four grades in all. Questions for higher grade characters become more difficult. Losers of challenges will either mutate back down a grade, of if they are of the lowest to start with, will be eliminated from the board. The winner is the last player to be left with any pieces on the board, all opponents having been wiped out in challenges.

Powerplay: The Game Of The Gods

In the one player versions, you play against Zeus, king of the Gods, and the strongest "army" he can muster.

There are other details, but that's basically how the game is played, a sort of draughts or halma meeting Trivial Pursuit in a classical setting. And very enjoyable it is too, though obviously playing with human opponents is a lot more fun and more satisfying than playing against the computer. The gameplay works well, and gives the program an interesting strategic element.

Two thousand questions are supplied on the program disk in a multiple choice format. There is the odd spelling mistake in the answers, but I haven't spotted any that are ambiguous, or simply incorrect. There is also a question compiler facilitity which allows you to add questions of your own, an excellent feature.

The presentation is of high standard, with a clear screen layout, and nicely differentiated individual characters. However, I confess to being slightly disappointed in the graphics - they're good, but they're not that good. Some very atmospheric sound effects though.

So long as your appetite for trivia hasn't been entirely jaded by now, Powerplay is well worth checking out for its freshness of approach.

Christina Erskine

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