This is a funny sort of game - and you don realise just how addictive it can be until you've been playing it for at least two hours!
Okay, it must be admitted... there are certain cynical gamesters who might point a finger at the format of the game and mention a couple of Ultimate titles, but Robin o' The Wood is certainly in a category of its own. For instance, the first time I played the game, it was over 40 minutes before I realised I hadn't yet been killed and tossed back to the beginning. Not that the game's easy...
You get to play the part of Robin, hurtling around the castles, woods and open land searching for keys, flowers, and all sorts of other medieval knick-knacks. The Norman's trudge around the scenery relentlessly firing off crossbows at you, but they're fairly easy to dodge and they don't do that much harm anyway. The real menaces are the red rats - they kill... and quickly too! If you catch sight of one of them rushing towards you, there's no point in trying to kill it with your spear - it's just a waste of time.
Your life energy is measured by a white strip beneath the playing area. As you suffer crossbow bolts and encounters with rats, it gradually turns mauve and then blue... which means you're dead. Of course, find the white-bearded sage and you not only gain a new life but all your ills are cured. Watch Out though for the green goddess that appears out of nowhere, steals some of your treasure and naffs off.
Graphics are good and movement around the screen is both fast and smooth. And, although the screens are all fairly similar - which is how the programmer has managed to cram so many into the game - there are familiar landmarks every now and then to get your bearings from.
It doesn't really bear much similarity to the Robin Hood stories we all know and love - but that doesn't matter a bit. A great game - buy it!
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.
Another delight from Odin who seem able to take a standard formula - here it's Sabre Wulfe - and give it new life with their superior graphics. Once again the sound and speech add a new dimension with Hey Nonny No musicke instead of the original silence. Once again though it seemed to suffer from unwelcome resets when played from the keyboard! Still, a must for newcomers who should rob from the rich to buy it.
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.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB