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

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