Blockbusters: Gold Run
by Tim Williams
Macsen Software
Crash Issue 32, September 1986   (1986-08-28)   page(s) 20,21

Gold Run is the successor to the game Blockbusters, both based on the popular TV quiz series for teenagers in which Sixth Forms and Technical Colleges compete against each other to win some very impressive prizes.

In the television programme, after a team has completed a round successfully, one member is invited to stand on the Hot Spot and take part in the Gold Run. In this section of the game a player has to complete a horizontal path across the set of hexagons by correctly answering a number of questions. In the grid are a number of five shapes each containing the initial letters of a phrase or popular string of words. The Player selects the initial letter of the hexagon which he or she wants to answer questions on, and the question then appears at the bottom of the screen. For example, the initial letters might be N.S and the question would follow: 'Another name for the Aurora Borealis' the answer should then be typed in 'Northern Lights'. If an answer is wrong the hexagon goes black, but if the question is answered correctly it goes yellow and the player can progress to the next hexagon in a logical route across the board.

Spelling and punctuation all count against you in the Spectrum version if you make a mistake, but generally, if a question is correct but mis-spelt then you do get a second chance to answer it. Although the questions tend to remain at the same level, the time limit in which you must complete the game goes down each time. On the first level this is 236 seconds, but at level nine it is only 38 seconds, so fast and accurate typing as well as a smart brain are necessary. After each game has been completed, the highest score so far compared with your own effort is shown. There is also the option to restart the game or continue in the series.

Unfortunately, there are no mega prizes to be won in this version of Gold Run, not a Blockbusters sweatshirt in sight, and no effervescent Bob Holness presenting!

Control keys: any and all
Joystick: n/a
Keyboard play: slow
Use of colour: the same as the TV game
Graphics: ditto
Sound: adequate
Skill levels: nine
Screens: one

'MACSEN should start up their own TV company, I'm sure it would be cheaper than buying the rights to all the games that they publish. If you buy it to complement Blockbusters (which I presume you're supposed to) I think you'll be a bit disappointed. This is because it's exactly the same as Blockbusters and even more boring. The sound is an improvement on Blockbusters but is still the same old repetitive tune. The game features some good touches, like the interrupt facility and spelling checker which gives you a second chance. But overall, the game is very poor and one of the worst MACSEN games so far.'

'Technically, Gold Run is rubbish. Funnily enough though, it has an element of playability in it, and when played in a group, it lasts a long time. The obvious problem is that questions crop up again and again, but MACSEN have made a reasonable lob of avoiding this, by providing a large dollop of questions. The big drawback is that an answer is not accepted if it is mis-spelt. Meanwhile, time is ticking away, and you're not going to beat the record... argh! Gold Run isn't a mega game, by any standard, and its high price acts in a strong way against it, but I reckon it's not a bad game.'

'This is the sort of game that I give to my hated cousins in Skegness because it is completely boring. I used to believe that gameshow computer games could be fun it you played them in a group but I've tried with this one and it isn't. The sound effects are adequate but I feel that there should be more of them to give the game a bit more atmosphere. The game responds slowly to keyboard input so typing things in can feel like a punishment rather than entertainment. The game itself isn't really presented well enough to represent a challenge so this game just about fails to please or impress me on all counts.'

Use of Computer40%
Getting Started38%
Addictive Qualities33%
Value for Money32%
Summary: General Rating: Weak.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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