REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

CORE
by Not Known
A'n'F Software
1986
Crash Issue 29, June 1986   (1986-05-29)   page(s) 32,33

The people living in the Federation's asteroid mine colonies are being wiped out for no apparent reason. Alien interference is suspected and Andrew Angello, explorer extraordinaire, has been drafted in to deal with the problem.

Andy travels to Eroc 1 to find that no-one is left alive. The only way to solve the mystery is to locate the bio-memory segments of the main computer, hidden deep within the mine workings on the asteroid. Once these have been located, the Federation can examine their contents and use the information they hold to combat the alien murderers.

The screen gives a side-on view of tunnels on Eroc 1. Dangerous alien machinery lies around the mines, so beware of anything that moves or looks nasty contact with it drains energy from the battery pack powering Andy's protective suit. Each of the four mine levels contains over 250 cells which Andrew has to investigate linked by the flip-screen method favoured by arcade adventure writers. Anti-gravity lifts allow travel between segments of a level, while automatic teleports link levels. Standing in a teleport for three seconds causes Andrew to disintegrate and rematerialise on another level. Every time Andrew uses an anti-gravity lift or teleport, or is zapped by a nasty, his battery pack loses a little power. As the battery powering Andrew's suit runs down, the screen changes colour from white, through yellow, red, mauve and finally blue. Death follows if the protective suit runs out of power.

A status panel reveals Andy's progress. One display shows the exits from the current cell; a clock ticks out the time expended on the mission and a meter shows the amount of charge remaining in the suit battery. An icon-driven menu allows the game position to be saved, once a cassette has been found in the mines, and the game computer can be asked for help. The game may be paused and a saved position loaded in.

Andy has to find tools and other useful objects in order to complete his mission. A slight oversight on the part of the Federation means that the intrepid explorer embarks on his adventure without a map. First priority must be to make one...

COMMENTS
Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Keyboard play: no problems
Use of colour: monochromatic play area hence no clashes
Graphics: quite neat but samey; nice animation on the figure
Sound: spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 1,023


'At first glance I found Core to be very similar graphically to Alphabatim's Robot Messiah - but without colour clash. The man is very easy to control, but he seems to move two characters along when he turns which is a bit of a pain when trying to run away from the baddies. The whole idea of the game is very similar to an Everyone's A Wally in space, but with scenery that's rather 'samey'. The animation is very smooth and the graphics are pleasing to look at, but apart from that I found Core to be a very large but rather boring copy of all the good arcade/adventures'

'Core has got a reasonable scenario, but the game itself is a bit lacking in content The game is technically above average, with a very large area to explore; it has got good graphics, but colour and sound am both average. I found it quite difficult to get to grips with the game and make any big advances. With the exception of Chuckle Egg II, A&F have been quiet for a while, and I can't believe that they've spent all that time just developing this. For ten quid, it's not one I'd hastily recommend to everyone I meet, but mapping freaks might find it a challenge to their abilities as it is pretty big, but it isn't mega-good..'

'I don't really know what to make of this one. At first sight it seems to be very good, but after a few goes it becomes obvious that you should be able to do more than just potter around a stack of screens. A quick reread of the instruction booklet uncovered the Icons, but not how to use or access them. I really did try to get on with them, but after a few more goes I'd given up trying to make the icons work for me. Graphically this game is excellent, the characters are well drawn and animated and the backgrounds add a nice touch too. My only gripe is that there could have been a little more colour. The sound is poor: there is no tune, and very few spot effects during the game. Although I can appreciate the nicer points of this game, I couldn't really get into it.'

Use of Computer73%
Graphics76%
Playability64%
Getting Started68%
Addictive Qualities67%
Value for Money65%
Overall68%
Summary: General Rating: A large, but somehow uninspiring arcade adventure.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 06, June 1986   page(s) 60,61

Imagine you're Andrew Angello, a space hero, searching the asteroid Eroc 1 for whatever nameless horror is destroying all of its inhabitants. Too late, all 720 personnel are dead before you get there... so what does any normal person do? Go home - mission unsuccessful. Oh no, not Andy, he mutters to himself. 'This is going to require skill, speed and brains', and treks off in search of danger and the missing segments of the colony's computer that, once pieced together, will tell the whole story of the sad fate of the ex-personnel.

Eroc 1 is what they call a Deep Asteroid Mining Project, or DAMP, which is just a bit of technical jargon to explain the fact that this game has 1000 different rooms to explore, 250 on each of four levels. Yes, we're talking big here - but don't start searching for a massive piece of paper straight away, my first few hours with Core revealed about 30 rooms... Yes, you've guessed it, this is not a game you're going to finish in an afternoon!

The mines are split up into small sections, each containing a small number of chambers. You travel between these via teleport devices or doorways.

Moving left and right around the chambers, the first thing you notice is that the fire button does not spit the standard 'death-dealing fire', but instead makes Andy bend down to pick up an object. Of course, once he's found a gun then things change - but, until then, you just have to dodge anything that looks deadly. A bit of a shame since virtually everything that moves is deadly, including the flying lightning clouds and sea-mines. Most of these objects just give Andy a shock and deplete his batteries if he touches them, but others, like the walking robot, kill him and that's that!

Core is a lot of fun, and very addictive. Success is not that easy, but when you do get do get a break there's an overwhelming feeling of having accomplished something - especially when you've wandered around the same old rooms wondering if A'n'F had pulled a fast one about the 1000 rooms when suddenly you notice another exit and there lurking off me beaten track are a whole load of objects to be picked up and a new maze of mines to explore.

Core can be frustrating if you're only into fast arcade-action extravaganzas, but I reckon it's one of tho best mixes of arcade and adventure games I've seen for some time.


Graphics5/10
Playability6/10
Value For Money7/10
Addictiveness9/10
Overall7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 22, October 1987   page(s) 75

Vast problem-solving arcade adventure which didn't make much of an impact when released last year, but may do better on Argus' cheapie label. Really it's the old story of wandering around several screens picking things up and using them in the right way, which then lets you into another labyrinth of screens, and so on. There's not an amazing variety in the graphics, or indeed the gameplay, but it's the sort of game we don't often see any more - large, challenging and complex. Not for zappers, though.


Overall7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 66, September 1987   page(s) 37

Core is a problem-solving game, with all the hallmarks of a classic text adventure, but with moving graphics. You start with nothing but a battery-operated life support system, and have to find a variety of objects to enable you to delve further into the game. Obvious essential items to find include a laser gun, armoured reflectors and, the reason for your doing all this, bits of broken computer to be reassembled.

The game is icon-driven, saveable (thankfully), and graphically excellent. A must if you like adventures.

Label: Bug Byte
Price: £1.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Andy Moss


Overall9/10
Summary: Superior budget adventure with excellent graphics.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 56, June 1986   page(s) 28

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: A 'n' F Software
PRICE: £8.95

Is this Mission Impossible? Distress signals have been received from Eroc 1, a deep mined asteroid settlement. An alien attack is suspected.

Enter Commander Andrew Angelico under orders to find out what has happened. But on arrival at the Asteroid, he finds all 720 service personel are dead. But why?

Angello's only hope of finding out is to find the biological memory cells left on the asteroid, and re-assemble the parts to re-create the colony's memory.

By returning the complete "memory" to the mothership, a suitable defence strategy can be found to combat future alien attacks.

There are many objects to be found which prove handy for Andy. There are a number of tools, - some hidden, some buried, - which will help him.

Andy can travel around the mines by walking or using the anti-gravity lifts or teleports.

A display panel at the top of the screen shows direction, time and power. Descriptions and verbal prompts are also shown.

There are more than 1,000 locations in the game, split into four levels. A map is essential to get into the vast, complex and challenging game.

Thankfully, it includes a save game option. There's no way to complete this game in one sitting. CORE will also be available for the Commodore and Amstrad.


Graphics8/10
Sound6/10
Value7/10
Playability8/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue May 1986   page(s) 43

Various
A'n'F Software
Arcade Adventure
£8.95

Why is it that there is always some alien trying to take over the world? Well, in this latest epic from the people who produced Chuky Egg the aliens have wiped out one of your asteroid colonies. You have the unenviable task of going in and finding out how and why - perhaps he had just had a difficult day at the office and wanted to let off steam.

The action takes place on a 2D scrolling screen rather like the Microgen Wally games. Above the playing area is a read-out with various icons telling you which exits are available, the current state of your backpack charge which you are carrying, and so on.

As is traditional in this kind of game, you have to find various objects and decide what to do with them. With 1,000 locations spread over four levels, solving this one should keep addicts happy for hours. In the grand tradition, there is no map; making one will be your first priority, so when you find the watch-'em-a-callit which might just fit in the widget, you will know where to find it.

Some of the most important objects are buried and so a spade is fairly high on the priority list. The whole thing is joystick-controlled, with pick-up, drop and use being accessed using the icons. Once you have the idea of that, it is reasonably quick to control and could save lives when you are groping frantically for the right key in a tight spot.

A welcome return to form by A'n'F, which will give arcade adventure fans many happy, puzzling, hours.


Graphics4/5
Sound3/5
Playability3/5
Value For Money4/5
Overall Rating4/5
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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