REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

Microbot
by Andrew Beale, Jack Wilkes
Softek International Ltd
1983
Crash Issue 02, March 1984   page(s) 16

Andrew Beale has done a number of games for Softek and this one will probably be accounted as among the best. It has similarities in its scenario with the 'you're inside this computer' school.

In this, possibly your millionth re-incarnation now, you are a microbot, a miniaturised robot, whose task is to enter the electronic brains of proper-sized robots and repair damage to them.

The scenario points out that you wanted to be either a Brain Surgeon or a truck driver, and as you couldn't possibly meet the necessary specifications, you had to become a Brain Surgeon!

A nice touch about this game is that the inside of these highly advanced but somewhat brain-damaged robots resembles the basement of some huge and rambling Victorian mansion with unlagged heating pipes.

There are two types of pipe - purple ones and green ones (scenario explains the difference, but it's all far too high in technology to repeat here) and there are various bugs which are causing damage to the delicate electronic brain. Despite their varied shapes they come in two hues - blue and yellow (this is important, but wait for it).

Your job as microbot is to prowl around armed with repulsa blobs and fix the pipes. The repulsa blobs keep the nasties at bay for a mo, but lying around in each brainy chamber are blue and yellow fix-a-rive blobs.

Touching one turns microbot into that colour, and if he fires a blob of the correct hue at a nasty of the same colour, the blob will destroy it. But despite all these fun and games, the true nature of the coloured blobs is to fix the pipes. When fired close up a blue blob will fix a damaged purple pipe, and a yellow blob fixes a green pipe. Once used the fix-a-tives are instantly replaced ready for picking up again.

The brain consists of twelve chambers, and can be seen to the left of the playing area in plan form. This scanner also informs you of where the worst damage is being done by colour coding.

It's frightening!

COMMENTS
Control keys: A/Z up/down, O/P left/right, M = fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: responsive
Colour: good
Graphics: good
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: 12


'Fixing holes in the pipes made by the nasties is not so easy, I found that this only worked if you bumped into the hole several times and then fired the fix-a-tive ball at point blank range. The graphics are very good with a number of animated bugs (there's a yellow Pac Man on legs in there somewhere) the game is fine, but there was something about it that made it not as much as It could be. Just a feeling, it's still a good and interesting game and highly original.'

'Graphics in Spectrum games have got to be so good in the last few months that it's easy to forget how primitive they were only recently. In Microbot the scenery is mostly angled pipes on black, quite simple, yet they are very good pipes. You wouldn't have seen pipes like those only a year ago! The creepies are good, too, and well animated. Microbot himself moves swiftly, but getting the hang of the game techniques takes some time, and could have been explained better. I shall certainly go back and get better.'

'Nice large graphics and very smoothly moving. Not too sure about the overall qualities of the game - it grew on me with playing, but I get the feeling there aren't quite enough objectives Involved to make it very addictive, although it is fun to play. I got a bit irritated with the finickiness of fixing holes, and it seems a pity that the blue and yellow blobs can only be fired sideways when the damned bugs move all over the place. An original game.'

Use of Computer73%
Graphics80%
Playability70%
Getting Started65%
Addictive Qualities68%
Value For Money80%
Overall73%
Summary: General Rating: Very good.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Living Guide Issue 03, April 1984   (1984-03-16)   page(s) 77

Producer: Softek, 48K £5.95 (2)
Author: Andrew Beale
The scene is set inside a robot's head, whose brain is being damaged by bugs (creepy ones). These robots, however, resemble the basement of some rambling Victorian house with purple pipes in 12 chambers. A scanner keeps you informed of where the worst damage is occurring. Your microbot is armed with repulse blobs which keep the nasties at bay for a few seconds, but the only way to kill them off (which must be done if the pipes are to remain in a sound condition) is to use the fix-a-tive blobs in each room. Yellow ones kill yellow bugs (as well as fixing green pipes) and blue ones kill blue bugs (and fix purple pipes). The graphics are excellent and the game is fun to play. It could have done with clearer instructions on playing. But in the end it fails to be quite as addictive as it should be, given all the elements in it. Sensible keys, joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, AGF, Protek. General rating: very good and original. Overall CRASH figure 73%.


Transcript by Chris Bourne

Big K Issue 3, June 1984   page(s) 25

QUICK, NURSE - THE SCREENS!

MAKER: Softek
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
FORMAT: cassette
PRICE: £5.95

A fantastic droid voyage, no less! In this new offering from Softek you become a miniscule brain surgeon incarcerated within the bug-ridden bonce of a not-so-super-robot. These bugs are busy sabotaging the poor ol' droid by ripping up his plumbing. As resident micro surgeon you must skate around the 12 sectors of the damaged droid and clean up the mess.

You'll need to repel the bugs with your stun balls and repair the dripping pipes before cumulative damage causes the poor old thing to collapse into an undignified pile of nuts and bolts.

Then, if you get the damage level down to around 12%, you're transported to another dodgy robot. Some reward, huh?

The concept behind Microbot is refreshingly novel; unfortunately it's rather shafted by some sluggish gameplay. Your little micro surgeon can only trundle about in first gear and consequently the ensuing bug-battles are somewhat unexciting. A shame. Still the graphics are very good indeed and there's a wonderful selection of bugs to avoid.


Overall2/3
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue June 1984   page(s) 59

Spectrum 48K
Shoot-'em-up/Maze
£5.95
Softek

You are a disgruntled droid who would rather have been a truck driver than a brain surgeon: debugging the large positronic brains of the new batch of QT robots is very risky. Left screen displays a map showing the 12 sectors of the robot brain. Below this are readouts showing damage status and power level. You destroy blue bugs with blue fix-a-tive balls, and yellow ones with yellow ones. You also can drive them away tor a bit with repulsa blobs. Colourful with good graphics.


Overall2/5
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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