Daley Thompson's Decathlon

by Christian F. Urquhart, F. David Thorpe, Paul Owens, Bob Wakelin
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 10, Nov 1984   page(s) 93,94

Producer: Ocean
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £6.90
Language: Machine code
Author: Paul Owens & Christian Urquhart

The arcade original 'Track and Field' has spawned a number of Spectrum versions in this Olympics year and has led to a serious discussion on whether Spectrum keyboards or Joysticks are up to it! Perhaps the most eagerly awaited version is this one, and Ocean (obviously good at picking winners) were in no doubt that Daley would get the gold, conveniently releasing the CBM64 version the day after he did.

There are, as the word 'decathlon' implies, ten events to compete in. On the first day - 100 metres, Long jump, Shotput, High jump and 400 metres. On the second day - 110 metres Hurdles, Discus, Pole-vault, Javelin and finally the joystick killing 1500 metres.

In the Spectrum version there is only one competitor on the track events (two in the CBM64 version). The screen has score lines and qualifiers at the top, a band showing the spectators, who cheer and clap, a narrow band representing the edge of the stand with Ocean hoardings plastered all over it, and then the green of the track area with the red running track. Below is a speed bar and result line with time and distance displayed. Track events are played by continuous left/right motions of the joystick, with the addition of fire for jumping or throwing. The simple object is to win the gold medal by qualifying in all events.

The package comes with day one on side one of the tape, and day two on the reverse. Ocean are paying royalties from sales of the game to the British Amateur Athletics Board.


Control keys: user-definable, three needed for left/right foot and jump
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: excellent - though Daley's stopped being ethnic
Graphics: very good, smooth, large, and well detailed
Sound: good tunes, applause etc
Skill levels: (match your own)
Lives: 4
Screens: 10 events

Despite the Spectrum version appearing long after the Olympics had finished, Decathlon loses no appeal. The graphics are very good and there are no attribute problems. My only gripe (not a green thing with seeds in the middle) is that Daley is white. I don't know whether Chris Urquhart is colour blind but to say the very least, Daley Thompson has got a sun tan. The sound is excellent and plays a snippet from 'Chariots of Fire' when you win gold! This is an extremely good game. The keys respond so well you don't have to bash hell out of them. If you want a decathlon game, then get this one, it will keep you busy for months. In all an excellent buy.

I hate to compare versions across computers but the Spectrum version is a direct copy of the CBM version although it's very much more simplified, and the fact that you are only competing against yourself lowers its playability considerably. The graphics are all pretty good, with nice animation from you as Daley, and the parallax movement does help create a sense of depth. There are also the nice touches like the man coming in with tape to measure your performance. I must say, though, that I wasn't all that inspired overall, perhaps it's the very type of game that put me off slightly, but there's no doubt that this is the best Spectrum 'Track and Field' type game around.

This (yet another Olympic spin-off game) is a very good sport program, probably the best of its type yet. (I'm sure I said that about the last one, but superlatives keep appearing!) I really enjoyed Decathlon, it was a very playable game, and there were nice finishing touches to it, for example, the false starts and the athlete scratching his head when he makes a mistake. I cannot really fault the graphics as they are well up to standard.

Use of Computer: 85%
Graphics: 82%
Playability: 85%
Getting Started: 80%
Addictive Qualities: 80%
Value For Money: 78%
Overall: 82%

Summary: General Rating: Very good, addictivity will depend on individual taste for this type of game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 67, Aug 1989   page(s) 43

The Hit Squad
£2.99 (rerelease)

Ah, the Grand-daddy of all sports games enters into the arena once again. Endorsed by Olympic champion Daley Thompson, who went on to endorse Supertest and Olympic Challenge, it features ten events (naturally enough), which are split into two days of gruelling sportsmanship. Day one, on the A side, has the 100 metres, long jump, shotput, high jump and the 400 metres. While on the B side you compete in 110 metres hurdles, discus, pole-vault, javelin and finally the killer event 1500 metres.

The cause of so many joystick deaths (due to the fast 'n' furious stick waggling needed throughout all ten events), looks a tad crude on the graphics front by today's standards, but still retains the playability factor which made it such a hit!

Overall: 74%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 48, Dec 1989   page(s) 30



Another trip to the netherworld of cheapies with Mr Stingebucket himself, Marcus Berkmann! (Where's that cheque? MB)

Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

Back in 1985 when it first appeared, this was the business. Time, though, has been as cruel as ever, and now it looks a little seedy and well past its sell-by date. All the running events require simple waggling of the joystick - a craze amongst gamers during that period that must have seen off more sticks than a bonfire. Certainly, after Daley's Decath, you too feel as though you have been running and jumping and throwing things all day, and if you want unnaturally developed wrists, and huge pulsating muscles between your fingers, then go ahead by all means. For the long jump and the throwing events, it all comes down to achieving a launch at 45° (or as near as possible) and getting as close to the lines as possible. Pretty skilful, huh? No. the game is pretty impressive for a four years old, but has long been superseded by other games (many of them called Daley Thompson's...). For sport sim freaks only.

Overall: 46%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 10, Dec 1984   page(s) 57

Dave: Daley's Decathlon is, of course, one of the several attempts to transfer the arcade game Track and Field onto the Spectrum. In fact, it's just about the best attempt so far. The object of the game (in case there's anyone out there who doesn't know!!) is to compete in each of the ten decathlon events scoring points for speed, height jumped and so on.

In the running events movement is accomplished, as usual, by either hitting two keys alternately or wiggling a joystick back and forth; a further key is used to throw or jump in the other events. Graphically, Decathlon is very good, the only problem being the rather stiff running motions of your man. Ocean's logo scrolls past at the top and a crowd applauds when you do well. Although there are a few small bugs (for example, I have it from a reliable source that it's possible to clear over 400 metres in the long jump!) the game simulates all of the events very well; including an energy limit on the 1500m.

For anyone on the look-out for a Track and Field-type game, this is the best buy at the moment. 4/5 HIT

Ross: Certainly the best track and field game for the Spectrum, although it doesn't contain some of the nicer touches in other versions. 3.5/5 HIT

Roger: Put a few quid in a deserving shamateur's pocket. After all, our boy Daley must've flogged the right to use his name. Good luck to 'im, too, because Decathlon earns its keep in screen time and gave me a lot of much-needed exercise. 3/5 HIT

Ross: 3.5/5
Roger: 3/5
Dave: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 32, Nov 1984   page(s) 26


Memory: 48K
Price: £6.90
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair

Ocean continues its policy of bringing out amusement arcade games under license with a superb version of the popular Track and Field, entitled Daley Thompson's Decathlon. All ten events are represented, and played with dedication the full game is a gruelling exercise indeed.

The graphics are large and colourful. Each event has a qualifying time, and the 10 are split over two days, one on each side of the cassette. If you fail to qualify three times then you are out for the day. If you successfully complete the first day, you can go round again with higher qualifying times until your three lives are gone.

Some of the events are very tough, particularly the 400m sprint. In order to qualify you must pump the joystick backwards and forwards as fast as you can to maintain speed. After about 200m the wall of pain sets in. By a cruel trick, the 400m is the last event of the first day and the 100m is the first, so if you are still in the game you will immediately have to race the 100m just when your arm is ready to drop off.

The second day is more gentle, winding up with the 1500m which requires strategy and restraint if you are not to run out of energy too soon. All the events are reasonably easy to play, apart from the high jump, which appears next to impossible. Getting a decent score is, of course, another matter.

Arcade conversions do not always work on the small screen. Daley Thompson's Decathlon is an exception, and captures the spirit of the competition.

Gilbert Factor: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 10, Jul 1988   page(s) 78

Amstrad, £1.99cs
C64, £1.99cs
Spectrum, £1.99cs

This is the original waggle-king that had everyone in a sweat three-and-a-half years ago. The gameplay may not seem very sophisticated these days but for sheer joystick-pounding excitement and competitive action, it's still hard to beat.

The ten events are: 100 metres, long jump, shot putt, high jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 metres. The events all require waggling and most need some use of the fire button to time releases, jumps and so on.

This game is guaranteed to test joysticks and keyboards, but it's an immensely satisfying way of getting rid of your frustrations.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair Programs Issue 25, Nov 1984   page(s) 30


The summer of the Olympics, and Daley Thompson's Decathlon from Ocean zooms up the software charts. A topical arcade game, it has been selling well since its launch.

The game is divided into two parts, each containing a day's decathlon events. On the first day you struggle to meet the qualifying times and distances for the 100 metres, long jump, shot putt, high jump and 400 metres. On the second day you continue with the 110 metres hurdles, the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 metres.

Success in the throwing and jumping events depends partly on speed at take off or launch and partly on the angle attained. The races, of course, depend on overall speed.

While the animation involved in your representation on screen is good, the games themselves seem more suited to frantic manipulation in an amusement arcade than to key-pressing in the front room. Speed is attained by alternately pressing two keys as quickly as possible. It exhausts your fingers, and it probably does little for your keyboard. In the first few races this seems acceptable but, while jogging your fingers in the 1500 metres, questions such as "Why am I doing this?" tend to drift through the mind.

With lots of practice or a lucky fluke you will bring the Olympic crowd cheering to its feet, unless the tips of your fingers wear away first or you think of something better to do.

Decathlon is produced for the 48K Spectrum by Ocean Software Ltd, Ralli Building, Stanley Street, Manchester and costs £6.90.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue Annual 1986   page(s) 47,48,49,50,51


Clare Edgeley blasts her way through a wealth of challenging software.

Get fit quick just about sums up the last 12 months. 1985 has seen enough sports games to put you off doing anything more strenuous than lifting a pint glass, at least for the next year.

Since the 1984 Olympics, we have competed in every imaginable sport: played footie with Bobby Charlton, run rings round Daley Thompson and been KO'd by big Frank... There is hardly an action sport left which has not been turned into a money spinner, with a Sportsman's name attached. What is wrong with Tessa Sanderson's Javelin anyway?

Daley Thompson's Decathlon was first to the tape back in November '84 and notched up a gold for Ocean when it jumped to number one in the charts for a few weeks. You have to compete in all ten events of the decathlon, taking part in the high jump, long jump and pole vault as well as track events. The 400m is the most gruelling and to keep up speed you must pump the joystick back and forth, which may result in a touch of cramp. The graphics are colourful and the game does give a taste of the real thing.

Melbourne House also attempted a compilation of events with Sports Hero, although it was nowhere near as successful as Daley Thompson. Sports Hero has you competing in four events - 100m sprint, long jump, 110m hurdles and the pole vault, over three difficulty levels. To gain speed you must pummel the run button and press the jump button before takeoff. Aching fingers seem to be the norm in that type of game and in many cases you will end up with a sick keyboard as well. There is no sound and the graphics are not fantastic, although the scrolling background is interesting. A few more events should have been possible.

More recently, Brian Jacks' Superstar Challenge from Martech reached the top ten, although it came a poor second to Imagine's Hypersports. Both contain a weird hotch-potch of events - some interesting, others boring. Brian Jacks gives you a pretty raw deal. For £7.95 you can immerse yourself in such exciting events as squat thrusts and arm dips. Those may be thrilling to watch on TV but on computer they are about as much fun as a wet blanket.

Hypersports is a different ball game altogether. Licensed from the arcade game of the same name, the computer version is very like the original, although some events lack imagination. When swimming - or floundering, if you forget to breathe - instead of tearing down to the end of the pool, the end moves towards you. Clay pigeon shooting is certainly one of the better events, in which you must shoot the skeets through automatically moving sights. The vault is tricky and rather than vaulting as far as possible from the horse, you are likely to end up on your head beside it. The graphics are generally thought to be more professional than Daley Thompson's Decathlon, though whether the game is better is a moot point.

Jonah Barrington's Squash from New Generation is an interesting concept which seems to have fallen flat. Knock a miniscule black ball round the 3D court and try to beat Jonah at his own game. Jonah is one of Britain's leading squash players. Much was made of the fact that a taped recording of Jonah's voice calls out the scores. Unfortunately, all you get is an unintelligible gabble and it is easier to read them on the score board anyway.

We awarded imagine's World Series Baseball three stars in the June issue, which just goes to show that our forecasts are not always spot on. In June, July and August it remained at number three in the charts, only dropping to eleventh place in September.

The game opens with a traditional rendering of the tAmerican National Anthem. Then play starts, with one team pitching and the other batting. You can play with a friend or against the computer, adjusting the speed and direction of the ball when pitching and the strength and lift of your swing when batting. Loving attention has been paid to detail with a large scoreboard displaying genuine adverts between innings.

Last, but not least, boxing - the sport for ugly mugs. Cauliflower ears and battered brains are only half the fun - just think what you can do to your opponent. A few months ago three games were released simultaneously on the back of Punch Out!!, a highly successful arcade game.

Elite's Frank Bruno's Boxing knocks Rocco and Knockout for six, and is easily the most playable and realistic, offering more possible moves and a greater number of competitors than either of the other games. It is also the only boxing game featuring a sporting personality - Bruno helped in an advisory capacity during production which explains the close attention to detail.

Gremlin Graphic's Rocco squares up well in the ring, though you will find it is not as easy to dodge your opponent as it is in Frank Bruno, and there are only three competitors. The scoring system is simple and the graphics are the clearest of the three games. It is worth playing and annihilates Alligata's Knockout in the ring.

Knockout is appalling and lacks any addictive qualities. It is the only game which uses colour - the others being mono - although that could have been sacrificed for extra playability. Other than left and right punches to the body and head, there is no facility for ducking and dodging, but at least you can amble away if the going gets too rough. You tend to spend a great deal of time seeing stars after being KO'd. At least it lives up to its name.

The legendary success of Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy lives on. Platform and ladders games are still the rage and dozens of versions have landed in the Sinclair User offices over the last 12 months. Two years ago Manic Miner was a sure recipe for success, and because it was ahead of its time a lot of money was made. Programming techniques are now more sophisticated and with games like Alien 8 and Spy vs Spy around, who needs a Manic Miner spin-off?

However, they are here to stay and some at least are worth the money you pay for them. One of the more successful games is Strangeloop, released late in '84, which has gone a long way to repairing the damage done to Virgin by Sheepwalk - one of its earliest and most awful games.

A half-crazy computer is the source of all your troubles in Strangeloop and, playing the part of a metagalactic repairman, you must shut it down. There are over 240 rooms filled with lethal swarf which attacks and damages your space suit. A jetbike waits somewhere and will make your task easier but you have to locate and refuel it first. Objects picked up will help with various tasks and friendly robots will patch your torn suit. The graphics are colourful and simple. and there is even a facility for saving your position on tape, to be resumed later when you have recharged your batteries.

Jet Set Willy II is the biggest rip-off of them all as Software Projects has done little other than add about 70 extra screens to the original. Essentially it is the same as Jet Set Willy which was launched back in 1984. The plot is similar; clear up the house before going to bed and avoid the hundreds of lethal thingummies found in each room. Despite being little more than a re-release, Jet Set Willy II is currently doing very well in the charts.

Despite the lack of original thought, if you are still hooked on the challenge of platform and ladders, try The Edge's Brian Bloodaxe. A loopy game if ever there was one. Brian, a viking soldier has been trapped in a block of ice for centuries, and as it thaws, he leaps out shivering, but ready to conquer the British. Flapping 100 seats, deadly ducks and mad Scotsmen are a few of the dangers that lurk on each level. Objects to collect and chasms to be leapt add to his daunting task. Brian Bloodaxe is at least as good as Jet Set Willy, with much visual humour and bright, clear graphics.

Hewson, which has made a name for itself in recent months with arcade adventures such as Dragontorc and simulations like Heathrow ATC, must have had a brain storm late last year with Technician Ted, which is totally unlike the semi-serious games released since. Guide Ted around a silicon chip factory while looking for a plate of the real things. Pick up knives, forks and other necessary implements and avoid several nasty traps. Easy to play and reasonably addictive, Technician Ted is not one of Hewson's best games but has done quite well in the platform and ladders stakes.

Artic's Mutant Monty is more sophisticated than Technician Ted and includes some extremely tricky screens requiring split second timing - if you are slightly out, a lemon or some other incongruous object will squash you flat, and then where will the beautiful maiden be? it is a constant source of amusement that so much work goes into preparing intricate story lines bearing absolutely no resemblance to the game you are playing.

On the whole rip-offs are uniformly mediocre in standard and not the sort of game you would buy for lasting playability. Real fanatics will find Activision's Toy Bizarre and Micromega's Jasper a doddle, and probably have more fun playing blindfold with their hands tied behind their backs. Both games are average and employ run-of-the-mill graphics. In Toy Bizarre, the player leaps round the levels of a toy factory popping balloons while being chased by a gang of irate toys.

Meanwhile, in Jasper much the same thing is going on, only this time you are a furry rat collecting money bags and treasure chests while avoiding furry cats, rabbits and other hairy animals. Platform games are usually fast moving and it is generally easier to keep up with the pace using a joystick. Unless you have very strong fingers, Jasper is doomed as your only option is to use the Spectrum's sticky keyboard.

Arcade adventures have come into their own in recent months, some remaining for weeks at a time in the top ten. With the advent of games like Gyron, fewer people are willing to put up with games like Jet Pac - classics two years ago but now gathering dust in cupboards across the country.

Superior graphics is the name of the game and the Spectrum is being stretched to its limits in a constant effort to improve software. Some games combine excellent graphics with originality, though equally large numbers have been launched on the back of the successful few. Ultimate's Knight Lore, Underwurlde and Alien 8 are three successful examples and Nightshade is expected to do as well.

Underwurlde is rather like a vertical Atic Atac featuring the Sabre-man who must escape a series of chambers while avoiding hosts of nasties. The pace is fast, the screens colourful - a devious game.

Knight Lore and Alien 8 could, at first glance, be mistaken for the same game. Featuring superb 3D grahpics, Knight Lore's hero must search a maze of rooms and find the ingredients of a spell to lift a curse placed upon him. Each room presents a challenge and one wrong move spells instant death. The scenario in Alien 8 is different from its predecessor and the quality of graphics is even higher.

Wizard's Lair from Bubble Bus is an Atic Atac lookalike with shades of Sabre Wulf and is an excellent game, even if you have seen the same sort of thing before. Bubble Bus has made some attempt to change the scenario which covers three levels, accessed via a magic wardrobe lift.

The programmers of Firebird's Cylu were influenced by Alien 8. Cylu is in the Silver range and at £2.50 represents very good value - it is almost as frustrating as the original but the graphics are a little patchy. Ultimate should be proud that so many companies want to copy their games, though it's a crying shame that those same software houses cannot put their combined programming expertise to good use, and produce something original of their own.

Games featuring film scenarios and famous names are often the subject of massive advertising campaigns, and Domark's A View to a Kill was no exception. Played in three parts you must guide the intrepid 007 through the streets of Paris, San Francisco and into Silicon Valley to stop the evil Max Zorin from tipping chip valley into the drink. The game received mixed reviews but, at the time of writing, it had just made it into the top ten - probably due to the James Bond name. It is an exciting game but lacks much visual detail.

The Rocky Horror Show from CRL is already sliding down the charts and does not live up to its namesakes, the film and play. Rescue Janet or Brad from the Medusa machine by finding 15 component parts of the de-Medusa machine. It sounds riveting. Your task seems enormous as you can carry only one part of the machine at a time and if you expect to meet normal sane characters in the castle, forget it. More could have been made of the graphics and the action is slow in places, but it is worth playing if only to meet Magenta who will strip you of your clothes. Wow!

Beyond's Spy vs Spy is unique and features simultaneous play between two players on a split screen. Take part in the zany humour of MAD magazine's two famous characters, the black spy and the white spy, each trying to stop the other finding secret documents in a foreign embassy. Set whacky traps as you ransack each room before escaping to the airport. It is fun, highly addictive and very amusing. Buying the licence to films, books and names is an expensive business, and at last one company has made the most of it with an excellent game.

It is interesting to note that when one unusual game is launched others of a similar nature swiftly follow. Perhaps all programmers follow the same thought waves. Last summer we had an unusual trio of games, reviewed in May, June and August issues. Two are based on the human body - not the most obvious subject for a game.

Quicksilva's Fantastic Voyage is a thrilling game based on the sixties film of the same name, in which Raquel Welch is injected into the body of a brain damaged scientist. Unfortunately, your mini-sub breaks up and you have only one hour to locate all the missing parts. Searching is a novel experience as you rush from atrium to stomach to lung and heart in a never ending circle. Finding your way to the brain is difficult as it is not signposted and the turning is easy to miss. Dine on red blood cells to keep up your energy and clear any infections which frequently break out - normally in the most inaccessible parts of the scientist's anatomy. A great way to learn about your bits, and where they are situated.

Icon's Frankenstien 2000 bears little resemblance to Fantastic Voyage, though it is played in a monster's body. Whoever heard of monsters smoking fags? This one obviously did and that is probably why it's dead. On reaching the lungs, battle with cigarette packets, avoid hopping frogs in the trachea, and fire at any oxygen molecules it is your misfortune to encounter. The graphics are uninspired and the game is simple.

Genesis' Bodyworks was reviewed in June and it is difficult to know what to make of it. It is hardly an arcade game - more of an illustrated, educational tour of the workings of a human body, describing the nervous, circulatory and respiratory systems.

Space Invaders was one of the first great games on the Spectrum and software houses have never tired of the theme. Space games crop up in all categories; simulations, adventures and arcade adventures. Activision has even brought out Ballblazer, a sports game played in space. Way out!

Moon Cresta from Incentive is a traditional game in which you shoot everything in sight, and then dock with another space ship before taking off to do exactly the same on the next level. With complex games like Starion around one would think that games of this calibre would flop. But no, there must be some people around whose brains are in their trigger fingers. Surprisingly, Moon Cresta is creeping up the charts. Long live the aliens.

Melbourne House's Starion takes space travel seriously and combines a number of features, including the traditional shoot 'em up, word puzzles and anagrams. Kill off enemy space ships and collect the letters they drop, then unscramble those to form a word. Fly down to earth and answer a puzzle to change the course of Earth's history. There are 243 events to rewrite - and that amounts to a lot of flying time. Starion is well up in the top ten.

System 3 has come up with the goods against all opposition with the dreadful Death Star Interceptor, which has proved surprisingly popular. If you are really into boring games, this is right up your alley. Played in three sections, first take off into outer space, next avoid assorted aliens and then, as in Star Wars, plant a bomb in the exhaust port of an enemy death star. It is all thrilling stuff.

Quicksilva's Glass is amazing to look at. Psychedelic colours make you want to blink in this repetitive but addictive game. There are hundreds of screens to blast through, and whole sections are spent dodging columns as you hurtle through a 3D spacescape. The rest of the time is spent shooting radar antennae off unsuspecting space ships. The graphics make up for any limitations in the game and demonstrates that a traditional shoot 'em up need not be boring.

This final section consists of a number of games which cannot be categorised. A strange mixture falls into this area - many are shoot 'em ups in some form or another, others require an element of cunning and strategy.

Gyron from Firebird, a Sinclair User classic, is a unique game in which you must travel through a complex maze, dodging massive rolling balls and keeping a watchful eye on the guardian towers to be round at each junction. Those shoot at you, but approaching from another angle may change the direction of their fire. As there are two mazes to get through, it should take months. Gyron is likely to deter arcade nuts, but for those with staying power, it is an attractive proposition. It did make a brief appearance in the top ten at the time of writing, but has since fallen away.

US Gold's Spy Hunter, based on the arcade game of the same name, is a faithful replica of the original. It all takes place on the road as you drive your souped-up sports car through a variety of traps laid down by the baddies. Equip your motor with a variety of weapons, obtainable from a weapons van which you drive into Italian Job style. Rockets, smoke screens and oil slicks are all strongly reminiscent of 007.

Elite's Airwolf is a game that we found so hard as to be almost impossible, and which everyone else seemed to find a cinch - and told us so in no uncertain terms! Try if you can, to fly your chopper down a long, narrow tunnel to rescue five scientists stuck at the end. Blast your way through walls, which rematerialise as fast as you can destroy them - a well nigh impossible task for those whose trigger fingers and joysticks have suffered from the likes of Daley Thomson's Decathlon. Airwolf has done better than we predicted. You can't win them all.

Ghostbusters, the mega box office hit last Christmas was a prime candidate for a computer game and Activision was first to the ghost. Featuring all the best parts of the film, it was an instant success and Activision did well to launch it simultaneously with the movie. Drive around the city coaxing ghouls into your ghost trap but listen out for a Marshmallow Alert. That giant sticky marshmallow man is quite capable of flattening whole streets unless halted. Greenbacks play an important part in the game as you have to buy your equipment to get started, and earn enough prize money for the number of ghosts caught, in order to take part in a final showdown with Zuul.

Finally Tapper from US Gold - another Sinclair User classic. Tapper is a simple but refreshing game centered round an all-American soda bar. You play a harassed barman, who must serve his customers with drinks. Easy at first as you slide them down the bar but wait until they have gulped down the fizzy stuff. Running backwards and forwards between four bars, make sure the customers have got a drink, and catch the empties as they come skidding back. There are three difficulty levels, each one faster and more hectic than the last. Tapper is moving up the charts and we are sure that it will go far towards refreshing the parts other games cannot reach.

The fierce competition over the last 12 months has chased many companies into liquidation. There have, however, been successes, particularly with a number of small software houses bringing new blood into the market. That can only be seen as a healthy sign.

The lack of QL games software is the only disappointment. Where is it? Other than a few basic programs such as Reversi, which cut its eye teeth on the ZX-81 years ago, there has been a dearth of games for this flagging micro. If games of the quality of Knight Lore can be produced for the Spectrum, why not for the QL?

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 44, Nov 1985   page(s) 8

The all-jumping running vaulting throwing Daley Thompson was an incredible success with arcade game players. Based on a number of coin-op games, it takes the Olympic star through all 10 Decathlon events and introduced the highly physical joystick pump technique for acceleration. Because the on-screen action relates to real sporting events, the game has more atmosphere than many later copies, although the graphics now seem a little crude.

Daley was also the first game to be promoted successfully by a public figure. Many other companies jumped on the bandwagon but few achieved comparable success.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB