Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £5.95
Language: Machine code
Author: Adrian Sherwin
In the time honoured cinema tradition of 'once you've got a hit on your hands - hit it again', Antics is The Birds and the Bees II. It can't really be called Son of Birds and the Bees, since the hero of Antics is Barnabee, who happens to be a cousin to Boris Bee, the hero of the previous game. (Some of these games recently are getting a cast list as complicated as a Shakespeare play!).
The scenario states that Boris Bee (he of B&B fame) has been set upon by a vicious gang of ants and locked away somewhere within their nest, to await a terrible fate (what, worse than death?). Fortunately for Boris, help is at hand in the shape of his cousin Barnabee, who is about to launch a daring mission of rescue.
The game takes the form of a large number of interlinked mazes which represent the various layers of the ants' nest. Barnabee starts off above ground by his hive and can fly to the right through four screens avoiding the blue birds which kill on contact. In screen three and four there are entrances to the ant complex below ground. The object is to discover the whereabouts of imprisoned Boris and rescue him. Boris will follow Barnabee if he is close enough, but Boris is weak, so you have to fly slowly on the way out back to the hive.
The nest is infested with ants and beetles. Contact with these creepies will sap Barnabee's strength (Bar code above) but visiting the flowers that also live in the nest will restore strength through pollen. Some flowers have the property of opening up walls in the mazes when they are visited. The wall opened may not be in the maze on screen at the time. In some mazes the walls are weak and will collapse as Barnabee touches them. There are also energy-sapping thorns embedded in the walls of the mazes.
Antics is played To the tune of Bach's Toccata Fugue in D - a sort of jazzed up version. Is that why J.S. Bach appears in the halls of fame along with Mrs Mopp, AAAAAAA and Mr. Spock? There's also Dr. Jones Did Not Believe It in there too.
Control keys: Q/W and alternates on rest of row = left/right, bottom row=flap wings, S=sound on, A=sound off.
Keyboard play: with three keys, very easy, keys are responsive but it takes getting used to the momentum factor
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: excellent - smooth, detailed, fast and clear
Sound: excellent - continuous tune which manages to continue while a death rattle sounds if you lose your life!
Don't prejudge this game because it's a follow up to The Birds and the Bees - it does have the same style graphics, but the game itself is much better. Also, saying the game is totally arcade would be wrong; there are several elements of adventure and even strategy involved. The graphics are well drawn and colourful. Although not a great deal is going on on the screen at once, don't worry - ants and beetles are surprisingly difficult to outrun and keep you active enough. The sound is just great with a well-known tune played continuously (like Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy). This can be switched off if it drives you mad. The keyboard layout is just perfect (in fact same as JSW). The bee flaps his wings very realistically and does have forward momentum (you can't stop dead right away). Overall a highly addictive game - I must just have one more go before switching off...
This is a great game. There isn't a lot more I can say. It's got great graphics, continuous tunes, it's playable and addictive and I think it's excellent.
Antics is a polished piece of software with many neat graphics touches like the scrolling Hall of Fame, the names scrolling up while disappearing behind the horizontally scrolling game details. Simple keys (left, right and flap wings) make control something that you don't have to think about, although any joystick will work, the keyboard is better. What makes Antics a non-standard maze game is the adventure element whereby visiting certain of the flowers allows exits in the maze which weren't there before to open up. At first I thought Antics was a charming looking game with not much going for it, but a few minutes playing soon cures you of that. Controlling Barnabee is a difficult task as he has a high inertia - guiding him through narrow openings in a vertical wall can be very frustrating when stamina is running out. This is a game that needs a map drawn! Very playable and surprisingly addictive.
Boris Bee has been captured by the vicious ants and is being held captive somewhere in their nest. Luckily, help is at hand in the shape of cousin Barnabee.
Frank: The idea's quite good, but it's not clear why a bee should be found in an ants' nest. Nevertheless, realistic use of colour, high-standard graphics and a comfortably slow playing speed make playing enjoyable. MISS
Ian: A very addictive game that'll give hours of amusement, even though there are many similar programs on the market. A lot of thought has gone into the graphics. HIT
Phil: Barnabee buzzes sedately around, while the ants and bugs tramp after him. The 'nibbling' sound effects are rather nice and it's well worth buying if only for the superb demonstration of the sound capabilities. HIT
Use of Computer: 89%
Getting Started: 87%
Addictive Qualities: 92%
Value for Money: 90%
Antics as all good bees know is the sequel to The Birds and the Bees (which Matthew Smith did the graphics for). The basic aim of the game is to rescue Boris Bee (star of TBATB) from an ants nest in which he has been imprisoned. As Boris's cousin Barnabee you must penetrate the lower depths of the nest and rescue him and bring him back to the surface. Inhabiting the nest are beetles and ants (naturally) which steal pollen and stamina from you, if you don't have any stamina or pollen left then Barnabee dies. Both pollen and stamina can be replaced by visiting the various flowers that live in the nest.
Antics was a very good game with super graphics, brill sound, terribly addictive and very playable. But now 8 months later I think it's lost some of its original appeal. It gets very boring after a couple of games and the tune now drives me up the wall, though I do like the hi-score table it even had Danger Mouse and Penfold in it.
Most people seem to have agreed with the review of Antics because it was in the Hotline charts for so long. Looking at it now I'm not at all surprised the graphics are still good and I think if Antics was released now it would either be a Crash Smash or very near one. Sound is used well throughout the game with a tune continuously playing. Antics has stood the test of time well and it will continue to do so for a very long time. Undoubtedly a classic.
(Ben) I wouldn't really change the ratings much, maybe lower the 'Playability' and 'Addictive qualities' down to 85-ish otherwise the rest still stand.
(Rob) The ratings shouldn't really be changed at all it was a Crash Smash and deservedly so.
ANT AND BEE STORY
Joystick: Kempston, Programmable
Boris the bee, hero of the Bug-Byte Birds and the Bees, is back again and his wanderings have landed him into trouble with a nest of ants in which he is lost. Antics, also called Birds and the Bees Two, puts you in control of Barnaby, one of Boris' friends, who is out to rescue his mate. To do that he must move away from his hive and go down into the ants' nest.
All the action takes place underground, where a surprising number of flowers are growing in the nest. Do not question the logic of the ants' flower power, as the plants will give you pollen. If you have any pollen in your bags and an ant, or other creature, attacks you it will go for your pollen before making an attempt to take away your strength points.
When you get into the next you may find your path blocked by green walls. Skimming gently over the sides of the walk will reveal any secret passages there might be so that you can hover into the next compartment of the maze.
Antics is not so good as the standard of Birds and the Bees but it is an interesting maze game which does not suffer too much from sequel-mania where the author has repeated the same basic format but with new characters or more levels of difficulty.
It can be played equally well with keyboard or joystick, which is a change front the usual zap 'em arcade games which require a joystick to reach the higher levels. Antics is for the player who likes to consider what action to take before being blown to Hell.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
SUPPLIER: Bug Byte
Bug Byte's latest offering is the sequel to The Birds and The Bees.
You take the part of Barnabee, the bee, and your task is to fly round an ants' nest avoiding the nasties which lurk inside.
You must also rescue your partner, Boris. who has been caught by the nasties (ouch!).
There is a secret message hidden within the game and your ultimate mission is to discover its whereabouts and contents.
The game uses only three controls, but you can use a joystick if you wish. Bug Byte claims that the game is compatible with any joystick interface. Its method of control is slightly reminiscent of Manic Miner, once Bug Byte's pride and joy.
There is a number of screens which make up the nest and each has one or more exits on it which lead to another screen.
Two keys move you left and right and another is used to flap your wings which make you go up. Stop flapping to start falling to the ground.
The two quantities which you must watch are indicated at the top of the screen by a bar of colour which vanes in length. These are stamina and pollen. You start off with a full supply of stamina and no pollen. You lose stamina by coming into contact with a meanie and the length of the bar ticks away for as long as you touch one.
Pollen is found by landing on certain types of flowers. Your pollen supply is then boosted and you can set off in search of a different kind of flower which is in need of pollination. Landing on this type will deposit the pollen and prove a major contribution to your current score.
Spiders, though, love pollen and it one catches you it'll eat some. This will affect the number of points you get when you finally land and deposit your pollen on a poor unsuspecting little flower.
The top of the screen shows your current score, the high score and your rank in the table of high scorers.
Unlike most other arcade games, this one has a record of the top 50 scorers so you can watch your ranking climb from 51 to one as you play.
The sound effects in the game are great. It plays Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, as recorded a couple of years ago by John Williams' group, Sky.
MACHINE: Spectrum 48K
FROM: Bug-Byte, £5.95
It's a tough life being a bee. In this game's predecessor, The Birds and the Bees, you had to laboriously collect pollen from flowers while under constant attack from ferocious birds. This time it's even worse. Your mate's been stolen by ants and you have to wander around underground trying to rescue him.
What lies underground is in fact a string of inter-connected mazes populated by some nasty creatures and, surprisingly, a fair number of flowers. These flowers are important because your stamina is continually on the wane so you need to visit them for refreshment. Contact with nasty insects, especially certain spiderish ants, will draw heavily on your stamina, and once it runs out, you're finished and must start the game again.
Antics is basically another attempt at deepening the challenge of an arcade game by giving you a complex task to solve. You cannot simply take it one maze at a time, because to get from A to B on a single maze, you may have to go through several other mazes - each maze being a different screen.
Unfortunately, the game doesn't appear to map as straightforwardly as, say, Jet Set Willy. For example, if you keep going west, you end up in a maze which should have been way to the east.
Another trouble is that once you've solved the game it's unlikely to hold much further interest. But you won't solve it in a hurry. Even when you've found your mate you've got to guide him back to the surface, flying very slowly. With well over 20 mazes to negotiate, that'll take some doing.
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