This manages to sound a little like the sort of dreary double bill playing at your local on a wet Sunday afternoon.
Actually it's an adventure game and a strategy game. It's only Rock 'N' Roll follows the option menu strategy formula, the idea being to make it to the top of the music recording business. You have several main options like doing a tour, doing a concert, hiring a manager, making a record, buying a status symbol or writing a song for your group. The program's method of writing songs would have done David Bowie proud, with the cut-it-up- and-stick-it-down method that results in such gems as:
Why does she like puking
Shall I wipe your nose
So give me some
Da wop bop do
Kissing is like a dirty joke
Don't you phone her up
Don't do that, it's rude
Sing it baby
She never did like dribbling
Shall I tickle it
So lay down and be nice
Come on feel that beat
With songs like that you could be getting a contract from Virgin any day! (They'll probably put the hit single out on K-Tel later). Other elements of the game include your energy and happiness status, popularity and fan clubs. Since you start off with very little In the way of loot, concerts are restricted to busking and tours are way beyond your reach. It's also impossible to make a record unless you have a record contract - and getting one is not simple. Drugs probes and various other scandals can affect your popularity, and, as this is a real simulation, the more scandals you are caught up In, the more popular you become.
Tomb of Dracula is another matter altogether, a sort of graphics and text adventure where you enter the tomb - a series of character block-sized rooms, some empty, some with treasure and some with ghouls In them. Depending on what number of silver stakes you are carrying (you start with 7) you will either beat or be defeated by whatever ghoul you meet. Skill plays no part.
Use of colour poor
Sound: reasonable tunes, but otherwise poor
Skill levels: 1
'It's only Rock 'n' Roll manages to be fun at first, but the program (which takes ages to load) turns out to have a complete Insufficiency of options to make It very interesting or very realistic. Thus it bores within minutes, or as soon as you realise that you are more in the hands of luck than skill. The Tomb of Dracula is frankly pathetic. The graphics representations are drawn in mosaics of character blocks and wouldn't frighten a two-year old. And there is little thrill in meeting 'A Zombie ' which requires 15 silver stakes for its defeat. You are carrying 18. Oh good. Bye bye Zombie, what next? It's about as skilful and thrilling as being sick on the floor.'
'Tomb of Dracula is very boring - it's written in BASIC, the graphics are poor and I didn't like it. Rock 'n' Roll is better, but I am amazed that K-Tel would spend so much on TV ads and packaging for such programs. They should have spent more money on the games. There are better programs to be typed out of magazines.'
'Now and again you get to see the show you are putting on in Rock 'n' Roll - a drummer drumming, playing synths etc., which is quite good but I don't think it's worth buying It for that. It certainly isn't worth buying it for the Tomb of Dracula.'
|Use of Computer||44%|
|Value For Money||35%|
Producer: K-Tel, 48K £6.95 (3)
Part of a double bill with Tomb of Dracula; neither side of this tape comes up to scratch. It's Only Rock 'N' Roll purports to be the sort of strategy game where you pit your wits against the established music industry to become a pop star. Having chosen a name for yourself you can do concerts tours, make records, buy status symbols, write and record or sell songs, and hire yourself a manager. With the money you have at the start doing any of these things except hiring a flea-bitten manager is out of the question. Select CONCERT and you'll be told busking is more your line. The song writing facility is the only lively element in what is otherwise tedious and unrealistic. Overall CRASH rating 41%. BASIC.
DOUBLE-SIDED RELEASES PROVIDE VARIED CHOICE
A NEWLY-RELEASED batch of double-sided tapes from K-Tel includes It's Only Rock and Roll, with Tomb of Dracula on side two.
It's Only Rock and Roll is a strategy game in which the object is to become a pop superstar by earning £1 million and collecting three status symbols.
Among the options are choosing a name for the group, planning tours, hiring managers and selecting songs. Time, money and energy are your resources and you lose the game if you run out of any of them.
The odds are stacked heavily against you and neither the songs which the computer offers for your approval, nor the occasional news flashes which are intended to enliven the game - "Government taxes pop groups" or "Tony Blackburn likes Sinclair Swingers", for example provide much of an incentive to continue playing.
A few graphics and more amusing responses might have improved this potentially appealing idea considerably.
Tomb of Dracula is a simple graphics adventure in which you attempt to find your way through a tomb haunted by ghouls and zombies and reach a staircase leading to Dracula's treasure. On your way, you must collect silver stakes with which to defend yourself and be careful to avoid the slime pit. You may find yourself repeatedly entering empty vaults and neither the story line nor the graphics is original enough to compensate.
Castle Coldltz, on another double tape, is a slightly more sophisticated adventure, in spite of the fact that it has no graphics.
The location is the notorious prison fortress, from which you are trying to escape while collecting as much Nazi loot as you can to take with you.
The scene changes quickly - from bath-house to trophy room to mortuary among others - and there is an interesting variety of treasures and messages to spur you. Full instructions are given at the start and if you make a map as you proceed, your quest should not prove too difficult.
The second side of the Castle Colditz tape offers Battle of the Toothpaste Tubes. It is a shoot-out game featuring a tube of toothpaste from which you fire at the evil brush brigade and the serried ranks of mini-tubes below.
You must beware of the chattering teeth but can protect yourself with your fluoride shield. If you hit the handle of a brush instead of the bristles, your toothpaste will rebound.
Apart from the novel scenario there is nothing particularly original about a simple arcade game which should only please anyone who is addicted to pressing the fire button.
It's Only Rock and Roll and Castle Colditz are available from K-Tel International, K-Tel Houses 620 Western Avenue, London W3 0TU. The cost is £6.95 per double-sided tape.
IT'S ONLY ROCK N' ROLL, BUT...
K-Tel are well known as the people who bring you those giant compilation LPs full of greatest hits. Now they've moved into the world of computer software with a range of "Doublesider" tapes for the Spectrum.
One of the first features games called it's Only Rock n' Roll and Tomb of Dracula - both Adventure style games with some graphics thrown in.
In it's Only Rock n' Roll, you set out to become a rock superstar and the road to stardom is a tough one. You have to write songs - with the help of your Spectrum - raise enough money to go on tour or play concerts, make records, hire and fire managers, just like real life. It's like a computerised game of Monopoly set in the pop world.
The second half of this "Doublesider" is Tomb of Dracula, a standard maze-style Adventure with some amusing graphics thrown in. I found myself getting killed off too quickly, but I think that's more my fault than the way the game is put together!
The documentation for this game is much better and enhances the playability.
All in all, this innovation from K-Tel is pretty good value for money. Two enjoyable games for £6.95 available now from Spectrum games stockists.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K/Commodore 64
Some light relief. This is a strategy game that allows you to try and crack the charts by leading your own group. Monthly turns allow your band to write songs, play gigs, go on expensive tours, push your manager into fixing special deals and acquiring status symbols and eventually - make a record. If you've avoided bankruptcy, corrupt management and the apathy of the fickle public in the meantime, that is. Three skill levels in what's basically a text game, though there is a chance of seeing the group play live!
"A must for anybody who's ever picked up a guitar, I'd say! If there's a few of you playing it should be fun - I always find these games better when there's a few people gathered round calling out what to do. I like the pace of if - it moves fast enough to keep you interested. And it's not too easy either, even if the real thing is harder!"
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