Letters Issue 40 Contents Spectrum Software Scene 2

Spectrum Software Scene 1

Sinclair User Classic

SINCLAIR USER Classics are programs which, in our biased and eccentric opinion, set new standards in software. They are the programs by which the others should be measured. If you buy no other software, buy these. No self-respecting Sinclair user should be without them.

Software reviews carry a star rating, the basis of which will be value for money. Programming, graphics, speed, presentation, addictive qualities and the rest are taken into account.

Guide to ratings
*****24 carat. Buy it
****Value for money
***Nothing special
*A rip-off

The Fourth Protocol - The Game
Sinclair User Classic


WARNING - possible breach of the Fourth Protocol ...

As John Preston, and newly appointed head of C1(A) it is your job to look after military security and, ultimately, uncover a British traitor and a plan to destabilise a nation of the Western Alliance.

The game comprises three sections, called The NATO Documents, The Bomb and The SAS Assault. In order to get into the last two you must use a code which is given to you in the previous section.

You begin in your office, reading memos sent by your superiors, using the phone, despatching watchers to tail suspects and receiving reports on the movements of potential traitors.

The game is controlled using a series of innovative and visually attractive icon screens. All input is made by moving a pointing finger to one of the icons and pressing ENTER.

The Office

Three terminals at the bottom of the screen provide contact with the outside world. The one on the left is used to read reports from watchers, the middle one gives you access to your reports and the one on the right allows you to read your memos.

File access is gained through the CenCom computer located in the basement of your office building. You can put your own files on the system or run checks and voiceprints on characters.

Files not held on CenCom can be accessed by ringing Blenheim and entering the correct code.

Once you have the file code the second section of the game can be loaded. The Bomb covers a trip around the building picking up useful objects for your search across Britain to find the nuclear device.

The building has four floors, connected by lifts. Although icon-driven, the options are flexible enough to allow characters to talk to you and for you to move easily and quickly.

The Bomb

Once you have located the bomb you can access the third and undoubtedly the weakest part of the game, The SAS Assault. You must arm your squad and place them around the building using a schematic plan. In this sequence you use simple verb/noun sentences with a list of words available on request.

Having blasted your way to the room containing the bomb, you have only seconds in which to defuse it, all the while fighting off KGB guards.

Two seemingly irrelevant bits of information, chanced upon earlier in the game, are necessary to successfully render the device harmless.

The Fourth Protocol is the work of the Electric Pencil team and that is shown in the professional polish of the game. The icon graphics are excellent and the speed is incredible.

Although some icon actions, such as those used for movement, can take longer than traditional adventure text input, their use generates a high tech atmosphere in keeping with the game.

It is one of the most enjoyable, complex but easy to operate games which I have played in a long time. Even if you do not like the Frederick Forsyth book you will, nevertheless, like the software.

Publisher Century/Hutchinson
Price £12.95 Memory 48K

John Gilbert




COME HERE glassy-eyed Earthling. Do you want a job working for the Game Lords?

There are good job prospects for anyone entering the Game Lords' Alien Strike Simulator - GLASS. All you have to do is zap your way through hundreds of screens of 3D aliens and steer through chasms where coloured pillars block your way. All that action is interspersed with the relatively easy job of shooting radar antennae from a variety of alien space ships.

You have only four power shields and energy for those is used up quickly. Not to worry, the simulator provides an option which allows re-entry when all your shields have collapsed. You will be at the same level but your score will be re-set to zero.

Once past the hundreds of many-legged or robotic aliens, the killer tanks which rise and retreat over the horizon lobbing fireballs, and the corridors of columns, you will get a glimpse of one of the alien cities. It is a non-participant scenario but you have the satisfaction of watching the city being very untastefully nuked. The effect is stunning as every pixel of the city explodes off the screen. Watch carefully as you will not see this again for another couple of hundred screens.

GLASS has stunning 3D effects and is value for money both in terms of quality and quantity of special effects and aliens. Add it to your library of games if you are an arcade fanatic. It takes a lot of beating.

Publisher Quicksilva Price £7.99
Memory 48K Joystick Kempston, Sinclair

John Gilbert



GET INTO training, sports fans, for a compilation of sporting simulations from Imagine '84.

The Vault

Hypersports is licensed from the Japanese amusement arcade game of the same name, and should not be confused with Daley Thompson's Supertest, about to be released by sister company Ocean. On the other hand, it does the same sort of thing, and will test your biceps to the utmost as you pump the joystick in agony.

Swim two lengths of the pool, remembering to breathe. The graphics on this event are the poorest of the six. There are three other swimmers, and the end of the pool moves towards the swimmers rather than the swimmers moving at different speeds.

The game gets its feet on firmer ground with the clay pigeon shooting. The twin sights move up automatically, and you must time your shots to hit the clay pigeons, or skeets.

The vault has the athlete trying to somersault as far as he can from a gymnasium horse, and an archery contest involves shooting at a moving target, taking wind and elevation into account.

The Triple Jump

The triple jump will be familiar to Decathlon players as a more complex version of the long jump, but the real killer is the weightlifting. A hilariously musclebound, moustached klutz creaks and groans in his efforts to raise the dumb-bell, and you must choose the weight at which you want to compete. This is the event which really taxes your joystick wrist, and risks terminal damage to the keyboard.

The graphics are more varied and generally better than Daley Thompson's Decathlon, with much more humour. You play through the sequence until you fail to qualify three times, and each new round raises the qualifying level. There are tables for the three best results at each event, and the game certainly presents a challenging experience.

Hypersports is almost assured of success in the shops, but whether it is better than Daley Thompson's Decathlon is another matter. The programming is certainly of similar excellence, except for the swimming event, but the sports themselves do not form a coherent sequence, in the way that the 10 decathlon sports do.

It is certainly superior to the current crop of sports simulations, and it will be interesting to see how it stacks up against Daley Thompson's Supertest, shortly to come.

Publisher Imagine Price £7.95
Memory 48K Joystick Sinclair, Kempston, Cursor

Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Classic
Frankie Goes to Hollywood

A SHADOW stalks the cloned terraces of monotonous streets. You are that shadow. You will remain a shadow unless you reach the Pleasure Dome, the world within the world within the world in which you live.

Who can take you to the Pleasure Dome? Frankie can. Move your shadow through the screens of kitchens, lounges, dereliction and prissy suburban streets, collecting what may help. Floppy disks open worlds of arcade fantasy where aircraft bomb Liverpool, where only you can save the lives of your friends. There's a murder to be solved; eight suspects - where's the clue? In a revolting pair of socks perhaps, but there are many entrances to the Pleasure Dome.

The Living Room

Screens explode with colour as windows open out onto new scenes - walk the shadow from behind and step into the frame, step into pleasure. Shoot Thatcher, watch Reagan and Gorbachev spit at each other. Once in the Dome you're no longer a shadow, but there's a dozen or more scenarios within the game, and four symbols to collect before you reach the centre.

Text intrudes slightly in the form of clues - 'the sea of holes is a sea of rooms' - triggered by the successful completion of problems. You must recognise the alternative possibilities of ordinary objects - light switches, telephones, televisions - and experiment.

Faithful to the spirit of the band, if necessarily less outrageous, Frankie is a beautiful program, an adventure of great imagination, with some superb programming techniques in the use of expanding windows and icon-like objects to pick up and use. The screen shots shown here are from a pre-release version, but they give some indication of the quality.

The game comes with a 15 minute live version of Relax supplied on a separate cassette, recorded in the States and previously unreleased. The reverse side of this tape features playing tips for the game, narrated by Patrick Allen.

Symbols x Shadow = Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Frankie x. Spectrum = Buy it.

Publisher Ocean Price £9.95
Memory 48K Joystick Sinclair, Cursor, Kempston

Chris Bourne

Give My Regards to Broad Street

IF LURKING around London underground stations is your idea of a fun tune then Give My Regards To Broad Street ought to appeal.

Outside the station

Argus informs us that the game has been okayed by ageing ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, presumably because the plot of the game closely resembles the film. In other words, little happens and it's corny.

You are Paul, and if that doesn't put you off, you must travel around London by car trying to find the members of your band on the run. You must also pick up chords which have been lost from the hit song No More Lonely Nights - which still got into the charts despite my best efforts. You have 24 hours to find your crew.

With luck you will eventually learn to manoeuvre your temperamental vehicle and stop at a station as one of the characters is about to go in or come out. You must wait around until you pick one up, together with chords, but beware the wheel-clamping traffic wardens.

The game is technically excellent. There are two types of screen. The first display shows your car on the road map of London. Underground stations are highlighted and much effort has gone into producing a detailed map of the capital. There is also a radar screen at the bottom of the screen and information about characters who have just gone into or left stations.

The other screen depicts an underground station and shows you waiting for your friends. Every so often a warden comes along and you must rush back to the car.

It is unfortunate that such an obviously brilliant team of programmers did not have a better plot with which to work. Surely the film included more details than lost friends and musical notes. On second thoughts, perhaps not.

Publisher Argus Price £7.95
Memory 48K Joystick Kempston

John Gilbert

Film still
A View to a Kill

SILICON Valley is in danger of obliteration and 007 is sent to fulfil another improbable mission in Domark's A View to a Kill.

In order to destroy the chip industry, Max Zorin, mad genius, has planted a massive bomb in some disused mines beneath Silicon Valley. When it detonates, the San Andreas Fault will open up and tip the lot into the Pacific. Why not do something simple like poison the water?

In the mines

There are three games, each played in different locations and linked by code numbers.

You start in Paris. Just as you are about to be told the key to Zorin's plan, Mayday - played by Grace Jones in the film - takes a pot shot and kills your informant. A mad car chase follows. Mayday jumps from the Eiffel Tower and descends by parachute. You jump into a taxi and chase through the city to capture her.

The screen is split horizontally. The upper half is the 3D perspective view as seen through the windscreen and the lower half is an aerial view depicting road blocks, police cars and the drifting parachutist.

Having captured Mayday, you load up in San Francisco for the next section set in the burning City Hall. Stacey, the obligatory blonde, is trapped in a lift and must be rescued. This section is an icon driven arcade adventure and is surprisingly easy to use.

In City Hall

A clue to Stacey's rescue can be found in the film, which is closely followed. There are around 75 rooms in the building, many holding objects vital for her rescue - a picture of the burning Hall is included showing your position in relation to the fire. The graphics depicted in this review were taken from a pre-production copy of the game.

The final game places you deep within the mines. Mayday returns in this scene, though you may have to find her first. Only she can winch you down to the ticking bomb and winch you back with the detonator.

Objects litter the mine and can be used in the same manner as those in City Hall. The grappling hook is the first you will stumble across and is vital. Conveyor belts may be activated - but tread carefully.

You can play along to the original Bond theme tune, to Duran Duran's single of the same name or switch off for blessed quiet and a chance to hear Bond introduce himself: "My name is Bond, James Bond".

Publisher Domark Price £10.99
Memory 48K Joystick Sinclair, Kempston, Cursor

Clare Edgeley

Letters Issue 40 Contents Spectrum Software Scene 2

Sinclair User
July 1985