Lap of the Gods

by Clive Brooker, Ray Owen
Mastertronic Ltd
Crash Issue 33, Oct 1986   page(s) 124

Producer: Mastertronic
Retail Price: £1.99
Author: Clive Brooker

Caught in a comet's vortex, millions of light years from home, you are understandably not all that happy. After all, there isn't much to do in a vortex is there? And to make things worse, you are powerless to do anything about it. As desperation begins to set in, the all powerful gods of Zzarn who rule the universe, reveal that they can in fact release you from your current predicament, but they want something in return.

Buried from sight are the crystals of Zzarn. These are quite essential to the gods. So essential, in fact, that the gods are prepared to strike up an unusual bargain with you. In return for finding the crystals of Zzarn the gods will transport you into the future and back to your proper time zone and throw in your freedom as well. This might all sound fine and dandy, but you are sadly poorly equipped to go around digging up lost crystals. Before you can begin to root around in the dirt some digging tools must be acquired. Once again the gods can help you out, but only if you give them something else ... Scattered around the chambers are various effigies. These must be collected and placed in the tile-lined rooms for safety. In return for finding these objects you will be furnished with excavating tools - including slab acid for eating away the tunnel walls - and special magical powers.

As usual, there is a snag. The chambers are inhabited by hoards of very mischievous demi-devils who would like nothing more than to curtail your mission in its infant stages. Repeated encounters with these irritating pasties results in a loss of your essential energy. Each clash reduces energy, and death follows when energy levels get too low. The devils also suffer from an acute case of Kleptomania. If your droid manages to pick up an effigy and is en route to depositing it in the tiled chamber, the demons hound in on you. After three hassles, the devils gain possession of the effigy and you are left to face the wrath of the gods. The gods, angry at your ineptness, remove any magical powers bestowed on you and you have to win them back in order to continue the game. Points are scored for every effigy deposited in the tiled chamber and the current score is displayed at the top of the screen along with the number of energy points you have left.

You move around the chambers on a little cushion of air. Upward movement is available by using jet propulsion. Gravity takes over when the 'up' key isn't being pressed and you float gracefully down towards the ground. Teleporters enable you to move from one chamber to another but can only be used if you are carrying an effigy. While holding the ornament the 'activate teleport' option is added to the menu. Pressing fire to get to the menu, and fire again takes you where you want to go and also drops the effigy. The menu options reveal the teleporter routes available.

Returning to your own space and time is only possible once all the effigies in each chamber have been deposited in the correct place and all the crystals have been dug up and given to the gods of Zzarn. That's if the devils don't get to you first...


Control keys: A up, Z down, M left, N right, 1 fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive, and easy to control
Use of colour very bright, colourful, and attractive
Graphics: slightly jerky scrolling, but nice animation, and pleasant characters
Sound: not extensive. Limited, mainly to clicks and buzzes
Skill levels: one
Screens: 16 caverns

At last, a sequel to One Man and His Droid. MASTERTRONIC seem to have got all the good bits out of Droid and compiled them into a very smart and addictive game. The graphics are extremely colourful and detailed. None of the characters are animated within themselves, only up, down, left or right which tends to make the characters look very boring. The inlay contains the usual MASTERTRONIC stuff with good screen pictures which help with 'impulse buying' M the shop. The game is basically on the same lines as One Man and His Droid, but with better graphics and it's a lot harder. I am fairly impressed with this odd piece of budget software, though it could get a bit boring after a while.

This is certainly a very good piece of budget software. I reckon it is much easier to follow and there/ore much more playable than One Man and His Droid. There is a lot going for this one graphically: the screen scrolls around nicely, the characters are well drawn and animated and there is plenty of colour splashed about the place with a minimal amount of attribute problems. The sound is also pretty good, with many sound effects during the game but no tunes. I recommend this one, as it is compelling and well worth the two quid that MASTERTRONIC are asking for it.

Another MASTERTRONIC game. Another disappointment? No, surprise, surprise. Lap of the Gods is quite a reasonable game. A nice demo appears, and though the scenario is a little dubious, the game is fun to play and, to an extent, addictive enough to justify an outlay of £1.99. From some of their recent releases, MASTERTRONIC have demonstrated their ability to produce games of a reasonable quality, but they always seem to mess up a run of quality games with an extremely dire one every so often, which is a pity. This one isn't one to fall into the latter category though, so nip on down to the ol' software shop, and check it out.

Use of Computer: 78%
Graphics: 83%
Playability: 80%
Getting Started: 73%
Addictive Qualities: 81%
Value for Money: 87%
Overall: 80%

Summary: General Rating: A very good game, especially for the low price.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 10, Oct 1986   page(s) 78


Though Mastertronic seems to churn out more games for £1.99 than the Ed can comments, with each new release the quality doubles, which is more than can be said of the Ed's witticisms. (You'll be sorry! Ed)

In Lap Of The Gods you play an odd robot type being, whose aim is to collect a total of 48 effigies and deliver them to the waiting eight Gods of Zzarm. Why? Because you're trapped in a comet's vortex, and that's the only way you're gonna get the buried Crystals of Zzarm, silly. Once you get your sweaty mitts on the Crystals, take them to the Gods and they'll get you back home.

Having never encountered a comet's vortex before I was surprised to find how structured it was. Bricks, mortar, pillars and stuff, plus a whole load of 'Devil incarnations' who've a nasty habit of stealing your effigies. Luckily for you, progression in the game earns you all sorts of tools to aid in the task of dealing with such nasties, plus anything else that stands between you and the crystals.

Lap Of The Gods should worry those software houses who are still producing rubbish at three times the price, 'cos this game is quite simply excellent. Good use of sound, colour and graphics all combine to produce one of Mastertronic's best games this summer. Don't pass a software shop without letting this one fall into your lap.

Graphics: 7/10
Playability: 6/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 55, Oct 1986   page(s) 55

Label: Mastertronic
Author: Clive Brooker
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Clare Edgeley

Lap of the Gods is a maze game for sorts, and for a change it involves no blasting or zapping.

It's all about appeasing the Gods of Zzarn and retrieving for them some buried crystals.

So you zoom round a series of mazes the first is small and simple - picking up three effigies in each putting them into a storage chamber. Then collect the crystal and push off the next to do much the same thing.

That's basically all there is to it, yet it's a tricky little devil to play. The corridors of the labyrinth are patrolled by green and blue monsters and if you get touched three times while holding an effigy it'll be taken from you. Frustrating. And on occasion they'll also relieve you of any goodies you might be carrying like Yellow Slab Acid and Blue Block Digger.

These may sound daft but they're vital if you're to retrieve the buried crystals. The name of the object is a good indication of where to look to find the crystal. The effigies are colour-coded and when you've managed to get three into storage, you can access the menu to find what gifts the Gods have given you to retrieve these precious stones, and also access the teleport facility. To teleport take an effigy and you'll be whisked off to the land it belongs to.

This will be a larger maze and they get more complex with tortuous routes the deeper you travel through the game.

When starting off in a new maze it's a good idea to suss out the area and find the entrances and exits to the storage chambers. You need to know the route pretty thoroughly to avoid getting lost and caught.

Lap of the Gods is a pick up and dodge game with a few additional extras thrown in for good measure. The fact it is so difficult and frustrating lifts it a little above average, though.

Overall: 3/5

Summary: A pick up and dodge maze game. Even though it's got really quite simple graphics it's very tricky.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 60, Oct 1986   page(s) 46

MACHINE: Spectrum
SUPPLIER: Mastertronic
PRICE: £1.99

Hey! It's another find-the-crystals-in-the-maze-full-of-little nasties game. But it is well presented, looks averagely attractive and costs under two quid.

At the dawn of time the eight Gods of Zzarn ruled the universe. You, - a little droid thingy are trapped in a comet's time vortex and only the Gods can return you to the future IF you deliver to them the buried Crystals of Zzam.

Game play is pretty basic - but addictive nonetheless. It's not original, and not up to the standard of Knight Tyme but a playable budget offering from Clive Brooker.

Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 6/10
Value: 7/10
Playability: 7/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 10, Oct 1986   page(s) 48

Arcade Adventure

Arcade adventures have proved to be the staple diet of many a software house and Mastertronic has produced some of the best, especially on the Spectrum. Although Lap of the Gods is not up to the standard of Knight Tyme, it is still a highly-challenging and enjoyable romp.

As the name would suggest, it involves tasks for the gods and in this case it is for the player to deliver the crystals of ZZarn or remain there forever. As with most games of this ilk, extra powers can be gained along the way which, when used correctly, can either help or hinder.

The graphics and sound are good and for a budget game it is a bargain.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ZX Computing Issue 30, Oct 1986   page(s) 40


Yet another interesting budget game from Mastertronic in this, your task is to collect a number of gems in order to persuade the Gods of ZZarn to return you to your home. But before you con acquire the gems you will need to gain special powers by collecting the effigies that are scattered around the sixteen sets of chambers that make up the game's playing area.

As you gather together the various effigies you will be set upon by devils' that look remarkably like androids (and make me wonder who wrote the cassette notes, especially as they tell you the wrong keyboard controls). If the devils catch you they will lake the effigy from you and return it to its resting place, but it you lose an effigy three times the gods slap your wrists by taking some of your powers and one of your lives too.

The sets of chambers are all separate, and the only connection between them is via the teleport chambers, but these will only work if you've collected the right effigies.

The screen display uses the outer section to display your lives left, crystals collected and so on, while the actual playing area is shown in a square inside this border. The graphics are relatively simple, with the passages and chambers drawn in quite large blocky graphics. These would be perfectly ok if the scrolling were a bit smoother, but as it is the jerky scrolling gave me quite an eyestrain, as did the rather distracting moving stripe all around the border of the playing area.

Still, ruptured eyeballs aside LOTG is quite playable. It's one of those games that is simple and fairly repetitive but which draws you back for one more try to see if you can collect a complete set of effigies and move on to the next set of chambers.

There is a 'fire' button, but this only pulls down a menu which displays the options and powers available to you (where would Mastertronic games be without a pull down menu, eh?). It would have helped the games playability if you were also able to fire at the 'devils' as they come at you. As it is, you're more or less at their mercy as they move faster than your own figure and can't really be easily avoided.

LOTG probably isn't the game for fast reaction arcade freaks, but if you've got a bit of patience, determination, and £1.99 to spare you might want to give it a go.

Overall: Good

Award: ZX Computing Globert

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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