Joystick: Sinclair, Protek Kempston
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.
One of the ways software publishers have breathed new life into old titles ie. more than six months since release, is to shove a few of them together on a tape for ten quid or so and call it something like 'Now that's what I call Software Solid Gold Hits II'. The truth about compilation tapes is that there are usually one or two goodish old games on them and a lot of dross.
Elite has launched a new range called Classics which gets around this problem by rereleasing the old games, singly, at a budget price - £2.99.
Elite is releasing one title a week, beginning on July 21, for the foreseeable future. Mostly they are old titles but there are a few new games thrown in here and there. Elite says the Classics label will feature only those of 'top quality'.
Looking at the first titles on Elite's release schedule I'd say they weren't entirely defined by the term but there are no absolute dodos and quite a few real bargains. The first four titles due between now and mid-August are all winners and well worth picking up if you missed them the first time round, or, as with Valhalla found them too pricey.
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.
Eric is the baddest boy in the school, and the beak has his report locked up in the safe. Eric must attend lessons, avoid lines, beat up the swot, be squashed by the bully, indulge in wild catapult fights and stay away from kids with the measles.
This novel arcade game has all the flavour of an old-fashioned comic with some remarkable surreal touches. To get the combination of the safe you'll need to be a dab hand at hitting the school shields, as well as wizard at dates of famous battles. Manic fun with the promise of a sequel soon.
All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB