REVIEWS COURTESY OF ZXSR

That's the Spirit
by Reflex Arc: Simon Lipowicz, Andrew Blazdell, Jack Wilkes
The Edge
1985
Crash Issue 20, September 1985   (1985-08-29)   page(s) 26

This is one of those games for which you should pack a case, ready for a journey of discovery. You know the sort, the instructions are so vague that you feel you may as well write some of your own.

Which keys to press and how, is well explained the confusion surrounds the why. The game is set in the future, in a time when the Governments of the World have taken leave of their senses. Crazy laws are in force: by law, to preserve World Unity, all cities are called New York. The World Government also has a bee in its bonnet about spirits. Not the alcoholic spirits that were subject to some equally confused statutes in America, no, this Government wants to impose prohibition on spooks. So, here you are in New York, setting out on your rounds as a sort of futuristic ghost hunter.

The Edge have kindly provided a keyboard overlay on the reverse of the instructions. (Well it will be an overlay if you have the rubber-keyed job and a sharp knife with which to cut a few holes). Twenty three commands can be invoked by a single key press, so even if you don't fancy cutting holes in your inlay, don't lose it! Glancing at the commands at your disposal will add to your initial confusion. Commands such as 'Eat', 'Take' and 'Examine' are fine. Coming to terms with some of the other commands: 'Connect ', 'Throw' or even 'Swear' for example, will take a little more time.

At the start of the game, the main display shows you as a little white character complete with baseball cap, against a backdrop of the New York skyline. Four indicators reside under this main screen. Two bar graphs show your fatigue and sanity levels. The occasional nap reduces fatigue, while avoiding stressful events, such as meetings with ghosts and unpleasant dogs helps preserve sanity. A ghost detector and score indicator are also provided, and an 'examine' facility allows you to take a closer look at objects you've collected.

Your character can move to the left or right, and as you do so the backdrop scrolls behind you. Occasionally you will come across doorways or entrances to subways it's up to you to find out which are of any value not all the buildings can be entered.

Trying to work out just what you need to pick up and what you can leave behind is an early problem. You can only carry six objects at once, and will have to face some tough decisions. The game requires a little more than you just having the correct object at the right place, however.

A lot of objects have obvious uses, a bone for an awkward dog for example. But there are more difficult connections to make (that was a clue). More often than not the objects themselves will give you an indication as to how they can be used.

Similarly, the subways can be used to great advantage once you have learnt how to make them work. You have got plenty of time to solve these problems, your only difficulty is keeping your sanity level out of the red ... so try not to tangle with the ghosts until you are suitably equipped, otherwise you may end up more ASHen than you already appear to be (that was another little clue). One further point for those who get well into the game, The Edge assure us that there IS a mouse. If you don't believe them, then you are looking in the wrong places.

COMMENTS
Control keys: as per overlay
Joystick: Protek and Kempston
Keyboard play: complex but a good aide memoir provided
Use of colour: lots used but plenty of clashes
Graphics: quite detailed and add much to the game
Sound: a good range of spot effects
Skill levels: one
Lives: one
Screens: N/A


'I can't agree that the graphics are 3D as The Edge claim them to be, but having said that, they aren't too bad, except for the profusion of mucky colour clashes. That's The Spirit is an adventure, so the graphics are really a boon, as is the mode of play. Don't expect to finish this game is a couple of hours - even by adventure standards it takes some sussing out. All in all it's a very acceptable game, being witty and fairly easy to get into.'

'I was a little apprehensive about playing this game, with some thirty control keys staring up at me. Most of the time, though, you only need the move left and right keys - the others are only used occasionally for picking up, using or examining objects etc. In some ways, this game has the same feel as Dun Darach although the graphics are not nearly as good. The similarity lies in having this bloke ambling around some scenery trying to get on in life, and having to solve a number of problems in order to do so. To begin with, I thought this was going to be an uncompelling game, but after five hours of solid play my curiosity wins, I want to find out how to get further on.'

'This game is superb, I love the idea of the game and love playing it. An adventure that has full scale moving graphics with powerful yet easy to use input should not be missed. There are a lot of witty elements, the use of the 'swear' command induces panic for a while, and inputting 'C5 ' into the computer which appears in the game is also amusing. The keyboard overlay is very useful and makes the game a joy to play. I have a great deal of respect for adventure games but have always felt that their appeal was limited by the way they interacted with the player. The Edge have produced a game that adds to the trend of making adventures more accessible.'

Use of Computer79%
Graphics74%
Playability82%
Getting Started60%
Addictive Qualities82%
Value for Money85%
Overall82%
Summary: General Rating: Well above average.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 19, October 1985   page(s) 44

Ross: If you see yourself as something of an urban child, then you'll be intrigued to find yourself in this game caught up in the whirl of life in downtown New York. This is a complex text adventure, without the text, a city romp a la Ghostbusters.

Just as you'd expect in the Big Apple the results of your actions vary according to your location. For example, if your man's background is buildings and distant skyscrapers, you can move him left or right and get him to pick up objects.

So where do the spirit's come in to all this? All over the place. You'll be zapping them with your ghetto-blaster... er I mean ghost-blaster, and watch out for those invisible ghosts too...

You'll be kept in the picture about which objects you have by a small area at the bottom left of the screen. Life in the big city won't get dull with objects such as a lazer-gun, a bone, a computer and a mouse to keep you going! Gauges will keep a check on your fatigue and sanity levels ( Where's my analyst? Ed.) so that you can get nearer your object. And what's that? To reach Liberty island it seems. Something of an all American dream methinks... 6/10

Rick: Hampstead in piccies for the streetwise kids, and most of the jokes arc stale. 5/10

Dougie: OK ..you dirty rat.. don't mess with the big boys or we'll send the mafioso spirits round to haunt you... James Cagney would've loved to mess around in this game. 6/10


Ross6/10
Rick5/10
Dougie6/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 42, September 1985   page(s) 22

IT'S 1996 in downtown New York - which could be anywhere since the World Government renamed every city New York. They've also banned spirits. All the cops have become ghostbusters and your job is to rub out the spooks that flitter and lurk about the streets.

That's the Spirit calls itself a graphics adventure without the text. Aside from the cursor keys there are over 20 keypress instructions which let you control objects. The status screen below the action displays items you have collected and when you want to use them you position a frame and key in the required action.

Other indicators show your strength and sanity. Any prolonged contact with a ghost will drive you totally bananas and end the game.

You will find a lot of things strewn around the city. The subway seems a fairly safe place to store them and you can transport yourself to other parts of the city from there. Some items have obvious uses, like the bone to dispose of the phantom dog, but there are lots of odd mechanical bits which you must try to connect up. If you link them in the correct way you may be able to make some decent ghostbusting equipment.

You will certainly need it as the ghosts are persistent and troublesome, constantly blocking your way.

Ghostbusting is no doddle - despite having about 15 items stashed away I wasn't able to connect anything up and you will have to experiment long and hard to make link-ups.

That mental worritting raises That's The Spirit above a straight arcade adventure but is still not quite the same as the broader requirements of text adventure.

Richard Price

Publisher: The Edge
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston

****


Overall4/5
Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 47, September 1985   page(s) 33

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: The Edge
PRICE: £7.95

There's more than a hint of the plot of Ghostbusters in That's the Spirit. But don't be put off by that - this is simply the best game from The Edge since Brian Bloodaxe. Not surprisingly, it features some good old primary imbalance to keep you on your toes.

That's the Spirit is an interactive graphic adventure - along the lines of Grand Larceny and Zim Sala Bim - except the text input has been reduced to just one keystroke.

So what do you see on the screen? Well, there's the main picture window with graphics which depict a New York cityscape - sort of Wally goes to Hollywood if you get our drift!

Below you see icons which depict what you have collected on your travels. You can EXAMINE these by moving a cursor over the object and hitting the examine key. This enlarges the object inside a special box in the centre of the screen.

On the right hand side of the screen you'll see a Spirit detector which looks a bit like a ghetto-blaster with radar dishes!

You can control your little baseball-capped character with a joystick - but you'll need to hit the keyboard for the all important "adventure" vocabulary which includes, TAKE, THROW, CONNECT - a good one this as you can fix objects together and make useful items - SHOOT, HOLD etc etc. The vocabulary is pretty extensive.

So what have we got so far. A nice looking game with some interesting features. But wait - what about the plot?! Where are the instructions? There's a lot of blurb on the back of the package but nothing about the object of the game or how to play it. Hmmmm. There will be a short intermission while we get on the telephone and ask The Edge about this. Talk amongst yourselves for a bit will you?

OK, we're back! The object of the game will become apparent as you play and solve the various puzzles - but it's got something to do with Liberty Island, folks!

Now back to the review. Spirit is a challenging game with some complex puzzles and riddles. If you like a challenge and games which need a bit a thought to crack then you'll enjoy it immensely.

Traditional adventure gamers might like to take a look at it as well!


Graphics7/10
Sound6/10
Value8/10
Playability8/10
Transcript by Chris Bourne

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