Skool Daze is the best daze of your life and if the gratuitous violence possible in this extraordinary new game is anything to go by, it is probably best to go through them all in a daze! The nefarious hero (or is he an anti-hero) of this piece is called Eric, although the program allows you to input a new name If you prefer to personalise your software, and you can change the names of the other 'actors' in this play. 'Play' and 'actors' are apt words in this game, for it carries on its own life regardless of what you are doing, in fact the demo alone is like watching 'Grange Hill' on the telly!
The simple object of Skool Daze is to get the end of term report out of the headmaster's safe, so suppressing the appalling information contained in it. However, achieving this aim is not so simple. In essence, to get the safe combination code, you must set all the school shields hanging on the walls flashing. You do this by hitting them with your catapult. Once they are all flashing, you must extract the code letters from the teachers, each one of which has been entrusted with one letter. This is done by knocking them over. All except the history master who, because of his advanced age has had his code letter implanted in his brain by hypnosis.
The methods to be used to set shields flashing, knock over teachers and extract the information are very varied, and typically school-like. But even with the codes, all is not over, because Eric must try out all the combinations on a blackboard. And even with the safe accessed safely, Eric must then cover his tracks by stopping all the shields from flashing by the same method he used to start them.
This may all sound involved and fun, and it is, but the bare bones of the plot don't even begin to explain how hard the task is made by the ants nest building of a school! It swarms with kids and teachers, the former milling innocently around, bopping each other in the eyes, scrawling rude messages on the blackboard, tripping up masters and generally causing havoc to Eric's endeavours; the latter handing out lines, ringing bells to change classes, asking daft educational questions, and generally being just like school teachers. Quite honestly, the Department of Education should have this game suppressed before it really causes trouble...
Control keys: cursors or Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, plus; S for sit/stand, H for hit, W for write, J/L jump/leap and O or F for fire
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: excellent - it seems an inadequate word
Sound: very good, good tune
Skill levels: 1
Screens: scrolling school building
Special features: masked character graphics
'Skool Daze takes me back a bit, to the good old days - school days. This incredible 3D school time game has many features associated with school, such as 'Whacker' - the teacher that is out to get you with his cane. The object of the game is quite easy although achieving the objective is very difficult, and this seems to add very well to the playability of the game. Among the many things I like, two things that stand out are - the catapult action, where your missile if fired at the back of someone's head, promptly knocks that person down, with the victim scratching his head - and the fact that there is no character disruption when the figures pass in front of the background. Colour, sound and the general idea are all exceptionally good. I think this will provide many hours of joyful skool daze.'
'Skool Daze is a fun game to play. The graphics are excellent and the sound is good. You are set an enormous task, which I have only just started. Most of the shields are much too high to reach, and all the teachers are line-happy. When ever you do anything and there is a teacher near you, the teacher will shout remarks at you. I really enjoyed playing this game and recommend it to everyone with a sense of mischief.'
'From the moment you see Skool Daze, you fall in love with it, because the graphics are tremendous. The whole playing area is alive with action. The cast of characters is presented in a long menu which introduces each recognisable graphic, tells you who they are and their names and allows you to change them if you want. The game has the feeling of an animated comic strip with the teachers' and pupils' comments all appearing in balloons. Playing the game requires a lot of attention to keep up with everything that is going on, and even if you don't feel up to a day at school, you can always sit back and watch it happen around you on the excellent demo. Microsphere seem to have a knack of finding unusual themes for games, and this is no exception. They also find the great graphics to go with it. I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with Skool Daze.'
It's not so long since I sung the praises of Skool Daze's sequel and now the original ants nest of evil urchins is available at a knock down price - as in knocked down by a catapult shot.
Other ways to get knocked down in Skool Daze are by bully's fist or somebody sneaking into your desk. You get lines for sitting on the floor which seems unfair, but isn't that just like school?
Actually, you get lines for anything in this educational establishment, which makes your task of retrieving your rotten report from the head's safe a tricky combination of tactics and timing.
The odd security system means you have to hit the school shields, sometimes jumping off floored friends for extra height, then knockout the staff for the code. All in a day's work for the scholastic adventurer.
Not so sophisticated in plot as its predecessoir, this is still a Sinclair classic with its good humoured style. If you don't already have it you really must at this price. Top of the Elite re-release form.
Ross: In Skool Daze you get a chance to re-live your youth or, as in my own case, do all those things you didn't dare do!
You play Eric, and if you want to be able to sit down for the next week, you must retrieve your school report from the safe before your parents get to see it. The first thing to do is to hit all the shields hanging on the walls. This in itself is not so easy and may require using one of the other boys as a spring-board, or even deflecting one of your catapult pellets off a teacher! Once all the shields have been hit the masters can be persuaded to reveal their letter to the safe's four-part combination.
Eric and the other children can go to any room but must obey the bell which signals the start of lessons.
The graphics are very clear and well animated, and the independence of all the other characters makes the game fun to watch. However I didn't really find that I wanted to play it for very long. It is, nevertheless, a very clever piece of software. 3/5 HIT
Dave: This is a very original game with good graphics. The playing area isn't very big, and it does seem rather unfair that if you go to a lesson where there aren't enough seats you get lines every time you get pushed out of your seat. I want my Mummy! 3/5 HIT
Roger: Buy now - before Sir Keith Joseph has it banned! This is as near to the real thing as I'm prepared to get. If you're still at school, learn and inwardly digest... 4/5 HIT
SKOOLDAZE explodes into the imagination with a cloud of chalk dust and a hail of catapult bullets. It is one of those rare games where nothing over-ambitious is attempted in the way of programming but all the elements unite to provide an addictive and satisfying romp.
The screen displays a school, with classrooms spread over three floors. The playing area is not large, being about three screensful of scrolling school, but the careful planning of the game allows for plenty of action.
You are Eric, a Bad Boy whose dreadful school report is locked in the headmaster's safe. The task is to get it out. Only the masters know the combination of the safe and to make them reveal it you must set all the school shields flashing by hitting them with your catapult. A nice refinement is that Mr Creak the History Master is a doddering fellow who cannot remember his part of the combination and must be forced to reveal it by writing his date of birth on his blackboard.
In between performing the quest, you must take part in the normal activities of the school - that is, playing and attending lessons Instructions appear at the bottom of the screen and if you are caught in the wrong place by a master you will receive lines. 10,000 lines and you are sent home, and have to start again.
The characters of the game have a cartoon-style quality and represent school stereotypes - the trendy master, the bully, the tearaway and the swot. You can change the names to those of your choice which should make the game even more fun.
Whether or not you want to attempt the extremely difficult problem of cracking the headmaster's safe, Skooldaze is tremendously enjoyable. You can have a great time simply trying to survive, as masters dole out lines with hideous abandon and, sometimes, quite unfairly. You can have catapult fights with other boys, and if you manage to fool a master into giving the bully or swot some lines then you lose some from your own tally.
They may not be the happiest days of your life, but Skooldaze should provide some of the happiest hours of the day.
Price: £5 95
Joystick: Sinclair, Protek Kempston
Another genuinely original game. The Bash Street Kids brought to life on your very own TV screen. The world of stink bombs, swots, ancient history masters, ink pellets and thrashings as depicted by a vast number of comic sprites wandering around a cut-through section of a school building.
The plot is way beyond the most fiendish problems the maths master could devise and involves retrieving your school report from the headmaster's safe before he reads it. Getting the combination involves knocking down a number of masters when they are dazed by the flashing shields, which you hit by jumping, shooting or playing leapfrog with a first year. Making life even more difficult are school bullies and swots.
Skool Daze is a joke but a good one. It is also a fiendish game with nothing quite like it around. Even now.
MACHINE: Spectrum/keyboard or joystick
They say school days are happiest of your life. Well, that may be so - but what I know for sure is that School Daze is th most original and entertaining game to be released for any age. Just watching the demo is like viewing a whole series of Grange Hill at one sitting!
And that should give you a clue to what the game is all about. It's set in a typical school, with typical pupils and typical teachers - all of which you'll recognise from your own experience.
The hero is Eric. Now, Eric has heard on the grapevine that his end of term report is not all it should be. So he wants get it out of the school safe before it comes to the attention of the headmaster.
The combination of the safe consists of four letters known to the headmaster and the masters. To get the combination, Eric has to first hit all the school shields - hanging around on the walls of various rooms - and set, them flashing. This is more difficult than it sounds. You have work out different strategies for different shields.
Once you've got all the shields flashing, the masters become strangely disorientated - knock them over and they'll reveal their part of the code. All except the history master that is who has to persuaded in a different fashion which you'll have to find out for yourself.
Once you've got all the letters, you still have to work out the combination - and get to the safe in the staff room!
While Eric attempts to get his school report, the life of the school continues independently. Eric has to go to lessons too - which interrupts his quest. If he isn't in the right place at the right time he gets lines. Over 10,000 lines and Eric is expelled.
The other characters in the game - like The Swot, The Bully and Angelface - also give Eric a hard time. They attempt to hinder his quest for that school report by getting him into trouble with the masters. With friends like that...!
The entire game is like an animated version Beano's Bash Street Kid strip - complete with cartoon-style voice bubbles which appear as the various characters "speak".
Poor old Eric really has a hard time at school. And you really get into the character as you play. Each of the masters, and Eric's school-friends, have their own characteristics too. You learn about them as you play!
A nice touch is the feature which enables you to change the names of Eric's mates and teachers to suit yourself. You can populate the game with all your least favourite teachers and your best mates. You can also make yourself the hero!
The graphics and animation are terrific and the sound isn't bad either.
Overall, School Daze is an entertaining and amusing game. Well worth the asking price - but don't let it stop you doing your homework!
PICK OF THE MONTH
A short-panted Fin Fahey finds Microsphere's Skool Daze just too, too disturbingly like the real thing.
This is a game on a theme of horror and despair, a game populated by wandering monsters, a game where no-one can really be trusted, and everyone is a potential enemy.
Through this alien landscape of paranoia and imminent catastrophe you must make your way, your single goal, to wrench victory from the jaws of universal defeat.
For this is the strange world of Skool Daze, where even in the eye of God you are a mere pupil.
Microsphere master programmer David Reidie has it off to a T. The claustrophobia and creeping terror of the education system are laid bare for all to see.
We start with a normal day somewhere near the end of term. The Head (Mr. Whacker, who bears a close resemblance to Mr. T) has closeted in his safe a fearful indictment of your year's performance, your School Report. There is only one way out. You must open that safe. Each of the teachers possesses one letter of the safe code and they'll only reveal it if they are first disoriented and then knocked down.
The first is easy, you simply use your trusty catapult, Beakslayer, but for the second you have to set all the school trophy shields flashing, by hitting them. This is done by either bouncing a pellet of the balding pate of one of the monstrous masters, or by clobbering one of the other boys and climbing on his back (real Nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw stuff!).
But beware, 'cos just as in real life, you'll get lines to do if caught doing anything out of order, and there are a lot of things you can do wrong, from missing class to jumping in the corridors, and the school sneak is always ready to squeal on you. 10,000 lines and you're sent home.
So much for the tortuous plot. It's the brilliantly realised graphics that make School Daze such a treat to play. The school building is good as you scroll through its boxy structure, but it's the characters that really stand out. You can insert your own names for all the main characters, from Angelface the school bully to Mr. Creak the History Master. Somehow Microsphere have inserted real individuality into what are very spare cartoon miniatures. They all have a life of their own, and even as you sit through another dreary geography lesson with Mr. Withit, the swinging Geography teacher, things are going on around you in the other classrooms and corridors.
The teacher characters are capable of a wide range of animation, from falling over to gesturing and writing on the blackboard.
The only flaw, if it is one, is that the game is so fascinating to watch, I found it hard to play seriously, and ended up mischievously knocking over the teachers and wellying the school bully at regular intervals.
An achievement in social realism and fun to play too.
GAME TYPE: Arcade
Take 600 lines boy, you are not a kangaroo, barks the harsh history master. Not an auspicious start to Skooldaze, and there is worse to follow. You arrive in your geography class to find that overcrowding in schools is worse than you thought. There are six boys, and only four seats. Two people are going to have to stand. Well aware that if you stand you will be given lines, you push the swot, Einstein, out of his seat. The creep pushes you out again. You push the smallest boy in the school to the floor and sit down smugly. The master enters and begins the lesson as the smallest boy pushes the next boy to the floor, he then pushes the tearaway down, the tearaway hits the bully, the bully and the swot fight for a seat, and then the inevitable happens, the bully pushes you to the floor. The master looks up from the list of questions he is reeling off, "600 lines, Eric, get off the floor immediately", "Oh, but Sir..."
Your main worry, though, is not the injustice of school life, but the fact that, locked in the school safe, is your school report. This is bound to be bad news if anyone sees it, so you find and destroy it. How? Now , that is a good question. Each of the masters knows one element of the safe combination. Of course, though, they do not want to tell it to you. Your only chance is to set all the shields in the school flashing in order to disorientate the masters, and then knock the masters down so that they involuntarily shout out part of the code. A very complex plan.
Produced by Microsphere, 72 Roseby Road, London N10.
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