|ZX-81 Software Scene|
WITH THE rapid approach of school holidays, games software is in even greater demand. For those unfortunate people who are not visiting the sunny beaches there are still many games on the market for the 16K ZX-81.
The Siege of Fort Apache is a strategy game in which you take the role of a general with 300 men at his disposal. You must launch an attack on a fort in an attempt to destroy its walls and gain entry.
On each day of the siege you must assign your men to such tasks as building battering rams and ramps, manning cannons, collecting spare ammunition and fetching rations so that your troops can survive.
You must then decide your plan of attack. You can move in on the gate, try to bring down the walls or burrow your way underground. At the end of a day the computer will give you a status report on your situation, which includes how many casualties you have suffered and how many rations have been stolen.
If you lose more than half your troops during an encounter with the enemy you are outnumbered and lose the game. Your should keep an eye on the positioning of your soldiers, as you must leave sufficient men at your base camp to protect it from the enemy which may invade at any time. Another reason for keeping an eye on the troops is to make sure nobody deserts. If they have insufficient supplies your valiant men might do that.
Fort Apache has a simple presentation and lacks graphics. The range of options and the results of the decisions you make in the game make it an absorbing strategy game, original and inventive in its use of subject.
The siege can be continued for several days if you keep your food supplies stocked and your men happy. You might also like to try to increase the life span of your armies through a series of games by trying various battle tactics.
The Siege of Fort Apache is produced by Contrast Software, Hampshire. It costs £4.95.
Sinclair Research is retaining its collection of ZX-81 games tapes, the most recent of which are Sabotage and City Patrol.
Sabotage is a novel game in which you take the role of one of two people, either a saboteur or the guard protecting some highly-explosive material. If you choose to be the guard you must corner the saboteur before he can plant his bomb in a secret place. If you take the part of the saboteur you must plant your bomb without being caught.
Your score is determined depending on which role you take. The guard's points decrease the longer he takes to reach the bomber. The saboteur scores his points by being destructive.
City Patrol is another destructive game, but in 3D. You take the part of a policeman moving round a city trying to destroy the alien invaders who try to raze tower blocks to the ground. At the very least you must prevent the destruction of as many skyscrapers as possible.
The 3D representation of the city is impressive, since producing 3D effects on the ZX-81 is difficult. Many hours of thought went into the screen display and, although the plot is a little weak, people who like out-of-the-ordinary games should be satisfied. Sabotage and City Patrol can be obtained from Sinclair Research or from some W H Smith and Boots.
|FORT APACHE||Memory: 16K||Price: £3.95||Gilbert Factor: 8|
|SABOTAGE||Memory: 16K||Price: £3.95||Gilbert Factor: 8|
|CITY PATROL||Memory: 16K||Price: £4.99||Gilbert Factor: 7|
AT LAST, Eco-software for the ZX-81. Set in the Canadian wilderness, Bears in the Wood from Unicorn Micro Systems depicts the desperate day-to-day battle for survival of the great black grizzly bear which, according to the cassette inlay, has become endangered because its black coat was much desired by 19th century society.
It is your task to guide the mother bear and her three cubs to the safety of their cave, mauling on the way the hunters who wander the woods in search of stray cubs. Once in the cave the mother bear must fill the honey pots quickly with the honey she has collected from the woodland beehives before venturing again into the forest.
Points are awarded according to the time the bears survive and extra cubs can be gained by opening the door at the rear of the cave after filling all the pots. The game makes the most of what are essentially limited graphics - trees are represented by Ts and the hunters are no more than inverse Hs. The mother grizzly and her cubs in tow have more than a passing resemblance to a bug-eyed caterpillar, a far cry from the 'beautiful animal with amazing resourcefulness, strength and grace' described in the instruction.
Eating dots and negotiating mazes are nothing new to ZX-81 software but an element of tactical play is required, raising the program above the level of the simple arcade game. Experienced players, however, may, find it easy to master.
The anonymous writer of the cassette insert injects a personal note when he writes: "These are the most beautiful of the bear species and I think it would be a great shame, a loss to the world, if they should never be seen in the forests again." Noble sentiments, certainly, but it is unlikely that the imminent extinction of a fuzzy blob by an inverse H will cause much weeping and wailing.
|BEARS IN THE WOOD||Memory: 16K||Price: £3.95||Gilbert Factor: 6|