I was going to write about Amusement Park 4000 and a bunch of other games, but the half-written document was on a drive that crashed and I don’t have the heart to rewrite it all yet. So we’ll skip the games I was going to review and come back to them later, okay? In the meantime, here’s something only slightly different…
Eeh, this takes me back. I’ve still got the tape I bought from WH Smiths way back when… I remember being very disappointed, because I’d mixed up this game (where you drive a little tank viewed from above in an infuriating puzzle game) with Rebel (where you drive a little tank viewed from above in an infuriating but cool puzzle game that I’ll be getting to sometime in the twenty-second century). It was almost as disappointing as the time I bought Batman 3D because I thought it was Batman: The Caped Crusader. (And that I got after returning Return of the Jedi, because it was a pile of isometric crap and nothing like the first two Star Wars games. Imagine my surprise to get even more isometric bizarreness and not a flip-screen action adventure. Grr.)
So the map’s full of these blocks, see? And you have to destroy them all to make the screen flash wildly and the exit appear at a random location (and also disable your gun so you can’t shoot your way to the exit). There are traditional spinny-blobby-WTF-JSW enemies roaming around. Your gun only stuns them, so you can’t clear the area and then get on with the block busting.
Four levels in the difficulty takes a sudden drastic leap up to just killing you at random. (Squeeze down a two-character wide corridor RIGHT NEXT TO AN ENEMY and hope it doesn’t decide to kill you.) Rebel is so much better than this game.
Press ‘F’ to shoot the ducks as they race past. There are barely any graphics, no sound, and I can’t understand any of the text. Despite these things, it’s still not the worst shoot-’em-up I’ve played. 7/10.
Andre’s Night Off – Matthew Smith, 1984
The sequel to Jet Set Willy! Miner Willy’s chef has been given the night off and Willy wants a snack from his technicolour-man-eating-pizza-infested kitchen! A proper, enjoyable game at last! Hurrah!
Wait. What is this?
WHAT IS THIS?!
So about nine months ago I got myself a new phone. I got a T-Mobile G1 phone with the Android operating system. I needed a smartphone so that I could run a satnav system on it (was going to rural Germany, see) and browse the web and maybe write stuff too (so I got a slightly outdated phone because it had a proper keyboard, none of this press-shift-to-use-the-numbers lark), and for a good long time it was quite usable.
Then the browser turned out to be rubbish. Google’s browser kept crashing, or just plain not working with some sites, like Hotmail. Not being able to read my spam and special offers from Amazon was annoying. And then I ran out of drive space, because Android 1.6 wouldn’t let me move programs (I refuse to call them ‘apps’) to the SD card. And it had been losing text messages from day one. So I figured – what the heck? I’ll upgrade the operating system.
Now I’ve got Android 2.2 running, and it’s been slow, and it’s been buggy, and the phone self-bricked when I swapped the battery, and I’ve had to reinstall the operating system four more times, and Google’s browser still doesn’t work, and I’ve had enough. I need a new phone. But all the phones that are out there look rubbish. Every so often I think I might switch back to a dumb phone and get a tablet, but then I remember that if I get a tablet it’s still going to have Android on it and get depressed.
Oh, the game? Well, it’s a Pacman clone. It’s quite fast and smooth, and it uses the BASIC graphics characters, so when you load it up on a +2 the ghosts roam around with ‘PECTRUM’ hanging off them. (Horrible when that happens. There’s never a tissue handy when you need one, is there?)
So I’ve broken the game quite thoroughly, as you can see. At first I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the first level since Pac-Clone can’t eat letters, but it turns out that with a little encouragement he’ll eat everything. Including the walls.
And now all the dots are gone, and the screen’s frozen. I think I’ve beaten the game. Well, it was fun while it lasted; 7/10.
Tune in next time, when there’ll be a whole mess of Androids and if we’re lucky some good games…