by Jon Smith
Romik Software
Crash Issue 11, December 1984   (1984-11-15)   page(s) 48

The struggle to put a sensible story line to arcade type games goes on - Beatcha certainly has pushed the limits in the sense that you won't get any idea of what the game looks like from either the title, inlay card or loading screen, with its similar look to that of Skool Daze. According to the scenario Beatcha is set in Quange Hill Comprehensive school on Sirius B. Putting it on an alien planet allows poetic licence in the look of the pupils and teachers!

The objective of the game is to negotiate the maze of crazy classrooms and collect all the keys so you can get out of the front door. This is Romik's first game for the Spectrum for a year, and to celebrate the fact, they are giving you 26 fives in this game, one for each letter of the alphabet. And you'll need them!!

Each screen represents corridors and classrooms, actually quite simple mazes made from character blocks in various diagonal shapes. Teachers come in blue, red and white, some slow, some very fast. tf you get hit, you leave a skull behind which blocks your progress next life, or kills if you hit it. Collecting keys arms your stun gun, which can be used to momentarily stun the teachers.

Access from screen to screen is via small doors, which may lead you to a totally different screen, or just to the next door one.

Control keys: Z/X left/right, L/M up/down, M to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Keyboard play: sensible positions, but not as responsive as they should be
Use of colour: quite good and varied
Graphics: small, undetailed, rather jerky block movement
Sound: quite strident effects
Skill levels: 3 - dunces. Swots and big 'ads
Lives: 26
Screens: unknown but several
Special features:

'Beatcha is a collect and avoid game. The graphics are simple and small but quick. This game is not bad, but I found that after getting quite a few keys I soon became bored. Beatcha is in the average league.'

'I think this game should have been brought out at least a year ago, at least then it may have stood a chance selling. As it is the concept, graphics and playability seems to be outdated. After collecting several screens of keys (or attempting to) I soon became very bored and tired, uninterested in fact. The game in many parts was much too difficult even on the easy level - on the difficult level it became stupidly fast and impossible to play. Colour has been used quite well, but the graphics are small, undetailed and move by the block - uninspiring. The actual object of the game is not stated very clearly. Whatever happened to the 'mouth-watering' inlays we used to have? I don t really think this is a game worth even considering unless you're into unexciting, brainless games.'

'Beatcha looks very old fashioned once loaded, although the title screen promises much new looking fun. Just another boring old maze game - well not quite boring, perhaps. Ludicrously fast would be a better description, and somewhat confusing. Okay, so collecting keys to get out isn't confusing, neither is avoiding nasties, whether they be Sirius B teachers or aliens, but some of the things that happen and aren't explained, are very odd. After such a long time when I thought Romik had gone for ever, here they are, back again - what a pity it couldn't have been a more inspiring game.'

Use of Computer55%
Getting Started42%
Addictive Qualities26%
Value For Money39%
Summary: General Rating: Poor and confusing.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 10, December 1984   page(s) 58

Dave: At first glance, Beatcha looks a bit like Gulpman, which was one of the first Pacman-type games to come out on the Spectrum. It takes, however, a few more glances to realise just how similar they actually are!!

The object of the game is to move around various 'classrooms' and collect keys. When all the keys are collected you have to reach the main door and escape. Your man is a single cursor 'Smiley' face which moves at a ridiculous rate and is chased by unhappy little faces (the teachers) which in some eases move so fast that you lose several of your 26 lives before you can get out of the way. In fact the game's only redeeming feature is that there are quite a few classrooms to be killed in.

In short this game is about as much fun as a three-hour 'partly predictable' broadcast On behalf of any party you care to mention. It might make a useful dustbin filler. 0/5 MISS

Ross: This is a standard maze-type game which proves difficult merely due to the speed and persistence of the chasers. I don't think it has much going for it. 0/5 MISS

Roger: Why did I used to fall asleep at school? Why does this game remind me of what fanciful commentators refer to as 'the best days of my life'? Beatcha, in relation to teacha(s), is as boring as the real thing. 1/5 MISS

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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