This, as the truth-seeking T'zer revealed last month, is the package that Argus claims provides better value than the charity compilations, Softaid and Off the Hook. Now it's my turn to have a go because 30 Games does not necessarily mean 30 games that you'd actually want to play!
Let's start with the programs that originally appeared on tape magazines - you know, those things that fall off the newsagent's shelves when you reach for your copy of your favourite monthly (no - not Men Only!). I counted eleven of these - over a third of the line-up gone - including such goodies as Battleships and Basic arcade games that you can break into and list - or more likely New! There are a few strategy games and even a computerised Rubik's cube by a name not unknown to readers of this magazine - but don't worry, Iolo, your secret's safe with us.
On top of this add the geriatric arcade... classics are we supposed to call them? The Meteors is a reasonable version but even back in the mists of prehistory, Ouicksilva's Space Invaders sorry, Intruders, wasn't a favourite. And what's this raising its hairy head? Gridrunner is a Jeff Minter rave from the grave - okay, go easy on the rave perhaps, but at least you don't have to ingest large amounts of suspicious substances to understand it!
This means that programs you'd want to play more than once are getting thin on the ground. However, there's at least one per side and you might, therefore, be persuaded that the package is worth having. After all, you may suddenly succumb to a strange desire to play Jet Set Gertie all night - though I doubt it! Instead, decide whether you want the four or five non-naff offerings and settle for the others as disposable extras. Even though the thirty are spread across four sides, be prepared for lots of tape searching unless your recorder has a counter!
It's obviously difficult to provide ratings for a compilation so take the following figures with a pinch of salt. More importantly, remember that a bargain stops being a bargain when you have to take the dross with the gold.
|Value For Money
Includes: Gridrunner, 3D Tunnel, Meteor Storm, Chess Player, Dragonsbane, Blood and Guts, Carpet Capers, The Valley, Fall of Rome, Micromouse, Strontium Dog, and Laser Zone
Thirty? Yep, 30 spread over two cassettes. If your cassette machine doesn't have a tape counter the biggest game will be trying to find out where abouts on the tape the program you actually want is located. Thirty sounds like great value but how many will you actually want to play? Here are my highlights.
Gridrunner was one of the few Jeff Minter games converted to the Spectrum. Most Minter games have the same basic qualities, they are very fast and consist almost entirely of killing a lot different things very quickly.
Gridrunner is played on a matrix, you control two separate laser bases one running north, south, up and down the left-hand side of the screen, the other east-west along the bottom. Over a seemingly endless number of screens you zap and zap again as assorted objects zip around the matrix. Otherwise... 3D Tunnel is from New Generation who at one time had the Ultimate crown of best technical achievement in programming. The graphics on this one were astounding for their time. You travel down a tunnel in which are frogs, rats and bats. Bizarre, visually excellent and like many New Generation games a bit dodgy in the gameplay department.
Meteor Storm, the first game I ever bought for the Spectrum, it's a good impersonation of Asteroids the ancient arcade game.
And the rest, Chess Player is simply a very average chess program. Carpet Capers is dire - a game about laying carpets lacks a certain amount of intrinsic conflict. Dragonsbane is a sort of role-playing game where you decide in each new room whether to fight, seek, help etc. Your task is to rescue the Princess Paula - this is not a good name for a Princess. Blood and Guts is one of the few arcade games ever to be set inside the human body - instead of blasting aliens you blast infections lurking in every nook and cranny, watch out for the cholesterol and replenish your energy by finding red blood cells. So far so educational but you also have to assemble a miniturised submarine. This unrealistic touch spoilt the game for me.
It goes on. There are a couple of management/kingdom games and a text adventure, and a great many really terrible arcade games.
30 Games is good value but only just. Of the 30 games I think around ten merit more than a few minutes play and perhaps five will get you hooked.
First up is a gigantic offering from Argus - 30 games on two cassettes. Titles on the Spectrum version include Jet Set Gerties, 3D Tunnel, Carpet Capers, Meteor Storm and Blood and Guts. The list seems endless.
Perhaps the best known of the bunch is Jeff Minter's Gridrunner, a game with plenty of zip and a lot of zap.
And Commodore owners aren't left Out. Argus has also put together another package of 30 Games for them. Titles include many of those in the Spectrum collection plus others such as the Quicksilva's Schizofrenia, a fiendishly difficult game to play.
Both packages offer good value. It could be months before you finish all these games.
|Value For Money
See the history of Spectrum games programming flash before your eyes with this one score and ten grab bag of games from Quicksilva.
Crammed onto two cassettes and culled from labels such as Bug Byte, Lothlorien, New Generation, Argus Press Software and Ouicksilva. Thirty Games is a collection of golden oldies and oddities which will give hours of nostalgic pleasure.
Playing games such as 3-D Tunnel with its onrushing bats, frogs, rats and tube trains may not be state of the art programming but they are still great fun whatever the vintage. It doesn't take a maths genius to work out that even it you hate half the games it's still great value especially if you missed them first time around.
And no we don't have space to list them all. Oh all right then ... Carpet Capers, Antics, Planet Fall, Grid Runner, Bismark, Meteor Storm, Jet Set Gerry, 3-D Tunnel, Stock Market, Fridge Frenzy, The Valley, Dragons Bane, Demon Knight, Ned's Garden, Space Intruder, Mighty Magus, Fall of Rome, Draughts, Xadom, Detective, 20 Tons, Chess Player, Micro Mare, Tube Cube, Invasion, Escape, Laser Zone, Strontium Dog, Pyromania and lastly and with a title like this probably leastly Blood and Guts.
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