Thor Computer Software
Doooiiing! He got the motion, he got the action, man, the boy can play. Arc's just the thing for all those who've got a cold in the nodes. It's the Rt. Hon. Charlemagne Fotheringham-Grunes back in his somersaulting splendour, bouncing through Thor's beautifully detailed flicker-free graphics, collecting crystals and generally dealing with one of those teleporting alien monoliths that frequent films like 2010.
Things haven't changed much since Nodes Of Yesod - it's still the split pixel, platform-leaping, nasty-avoiding bizarre that makes you think that there's lots of life left in the platform game. If you've got Nodes, the only reason to buy this is if you like it so much that you want to carry on in a slightly different variation. If you missed out on the original, you're missing out on one heck of a game.
Personally, I'm completely hopeless at both games. I can't make head nor tail of the wacky inlay card (who do these guys think they are - Ultimate?) and I keep falling into the same inescapable room with awful regularity. But winning has nothing to do with it... I just love the way Charlie moves and am quite happy to sit there jumping up and down till my lives run out. Fab'n'gear... get into this Arc next time it starts raining.
And so they came - the first trickle of 128 games. Sinclair cleverly made sure that the software was there, ready for the new machine. But most of the first releases have been expanded versions of existing titles, and we all know, don't we, that bigger doesn't necessarily mean better? After all, it's what you do with it that counts. So here it is - the highly personal, Rachael J Smith guide to those first ten releases.
Nodes Of Yesod was something of a classic in its 48K version - not because of great sophistication or great complexity but because of its charm and good humour. I mean, any game that has you tunneling through the moon with a rock eating mole has to be something special! I'm not sure if the expanded version has added to the size of the caverns but it really scores in its use of music and sound effects. The tunes are catchy and the 'Burp' of your ill-mannered miner after chewing the green cheese is a nice touch. Newcomers to the Spectrum should certainly have this.
Arc was seen as merely more of the same, with a robot sphere instead of a rodent assistant. Actually it adds a zapping element and the game seems to play rather faster. Still, unless you're a real fan of the original it's hardly a big enough leap for its hero, Rt Hon Charlemagne Fotheringham-Grunes, despite the zero gravity. I found that it kept returning to the opening screen for no apparent reason.
So there they are, ten offerings for the 128. All benefit from having their amplified sound blasted out through the TV, and where the new sound chip has been used to full effect it's like suddenly being able to hear after years of deafness. But while there are things here to appeal to the person who's never owned a Spectrum before, I can't see much point in duplicating a game unless you were a big fan of the original. And that means that we're not yet in a position to say whether the 128 itself is worth buying. We'll have to wait until games that make full use of that extra memory - that do things that can't be achieved in 48K - appear before we all decide to trade in our old machines.
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