Sam Spade
by Dave B. Chapman
Silversoft Ltd
Crash Issue 04, May 1984   page(s) 30

He meets them on the ladders -
On platforms left and right;
His only hope 's to dig a trap,
They're much too mean to fight ...

Thus starts Silversoft's 'Panic' game of platforms, ladders and monsters with a penchant for falling into holes. There are the traditional five levels connected with various ladders and three monsters on the first screen. Depending on their colour, monsters need to fall through either one hole, two or three. Monsters which get out of a trap before Sam hits them on the head with his spade will become more durable by changing colour.

There are, of course, many variations on 'Panic' now, each with their own idiosyncrasies, some better than others. This version boasts quite large characters.

Control keys: Z/X left/right, K/M up/down, L dig/fill/kill
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: sensible keys make life easy, responsive
Use of colour: fair to average
Graphics: average, although large
Sound: good tunes, otherwise average
Skill levels: progressive difficulty
Lives: 3

'There isn't much can be said about a 'Panic' game now that hasn't already been said. On the whole this one has large and smooth moving graphics. They are all four blocks large, but as they overwrite each other this results in the ladders vanishing to black where they pass, which lends a flickery aspect that looks quite amateurish. Another oddity is that there is only a single function key for dig and fill holes. It takes three presses to dig a hole or kill a monster, so as soon as the hole is dug it starts to fill again! This can be very frustrating in the heat of play. On the other hand, it does mean less keys to have to worry about. On the whole I thought this was a pretty weak version, especially for Silversoft'

'The colour used is fair and the graphics, although large, are only average. it's a reasonable arcade copy in most respects, there's the falling oxygen level to worry about, and as you get through a few screens, there are a lot of monsters to worry about as well.'

'Sam Spade is a typical "Panic" game with nice big graphics and this is a good version of a game which is rather old now. I would say it 's actually better than some and worse than others.'

Use of Computer62%
Getting Started63%
Addictive Qualities53%
Value For Money51%
Summary: General Rating: An old-style game, generally average.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash - Run It Again Issue 05, June 1984   page(s) 106

In my opinion, this was the best game. It was 'just' better than Ocean's. The key layout was all right with one key for dig and fill. The graphics are very good, being large, smooth and reasonably coloured, although there are a few attribute problems as monsters climb the ladders, but this was nothing to complain about. The sound is not very good probably the best on this comparison (all the games are poor and limited on the sound front). Sam Spade very playable and addictive with three types of monster and a fixed amount of oxygen available. I like this one most of all out of the selection.

Sllversoft have produced a fairly standard 'Panic' that has five platforms and a 'set' laddery layout (no random positioning). You take the place of a well-detailed and drawn man who moves smoothly and quickly. The same applies to the monsters, and the three different types (ech stronger and more intelligent than the previous) keep you very active, especially when trying to dig holes for the strongest ones which need to fail through three platforms. Good, fast digging action and colourful, noisy, unintelligent monsters with the added bonus of responsive and well laid out keys make this an enjoyable game to play.

Graphics (CP)89%
Graphics (MU)86%
Use of Computer (CP)80%
Use of Computer (MU)82%
Playability (CP)86%
Playability (MU)84%
Addictive Qualities (CP)85%
Addictive Qualities (MU)82%
Value for Money (CP)88%
Value for Money (MU)80%
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 27, June 1984   page(s) 33


THE MINER or explorer being chased through subterranean caverns by monsters of many kinds is now a common motif in computer entertainment and it would take a vastly superior program to oust Manic Miner from its place at the top of the pile. Sam Spade from Silversoft, which will run on any Spectrum, is yet another version on the theme and is no real contender against Miner Willy. Sam, our hero, is a miner digging kryptonite in the usual multi-layered cave. The precious ore is guarded by small, fast-moving monsters of red, green and yellow varieties. Sam is moved up and down the cavern using the keyboard or a Kempston joystick and climbs ladders to move from one level to the next.

To survive and to score he must dig holes with his hammer through which the monsters will fall, provided they are helped by a few taps on the head as well. Red monsters will die by falling only one level but to kill the others the player must dig sets of holes, as the green and yellow baddies must drop two and three levels respectively to be destroyed.

That takes some doing - the monsters are fast and voracious and it is all too easy to paint Sam into a corner. There is the added difficulty of a decreasing air supply.

While the program ran smoothly, the format became rather repetitive after a time, even though one's ingenuity is taxed by putting the proper holes in the correct places. The game is no match for the ever-moving, ever-changing caverns through which Willy has to struggle and leaves Sam as an average kind of miner, undistinguished by comparison.

Memory: Any Spectrum
Price: £5.95
Joystick: Kempston

Gilbert Factor5/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Big K Issue 2, May 1984   page(s) 78


MAKER: Silversoft
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
FORMAT: cassette
PRICE: £6.95

Least original of recent Silversoft releases is Sam Spade, a Panic/Donkey Kong type game, where you have to run up ladders and dig holes on the various levels to trap the monsters. You then have to bang them on the head with your pickaxe to ensure that they - fall to their death. If you leave them trapped for too long they will change colour, making it more difficult to destroy them.

From a programming point of view there is little to criticise. The action flows smoothly and the graphics are fine, and if you do not already possess a similar game then this is as good as the best available. However, it is rather late in the day to come out with this new version no matter how good.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Personal Computer Games Issue 4, March 1984   page(s) 98

MACHINE: Spectrum 16/48K
JOYSTICK: Kempston, Optional
SUPPLIER: Silversoft
PRICE: £5.95

You knock holes in the scaffolding and then hammer the monsters that fall in. But the green and yellow monsters have to be knocked through more than one layer. Addictive.

Ease Of Use5/10
Lasting Interest7/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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