Atic Atac

by Chris Stamper, Tim Stamper
Ultimate Play The Game
Crash Issue 2, Mar 1984   page(s) 37

Producer: Ultimate
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £5.50
Language: Machine code

In last month's issue we promised a fuller review of Atic Atac as our review copies arrived too late to do it full justice. It turns out to be difficult to do full justice to this program anyway! There's such a lot of it. You're stuck in this castle which contains five floors with lots of rooms on each floor. The total number of rooms, staircases and passageways is a subject of argument, although the best estimate we've heard about from one reviewer (who's been busy mapping the place) is 40 rooms per floor, making a total of 200.

The rooms are seen in a sort of splayed perspective from above so that all four walls as well as the floor are visible. Put simply, the object of the game is to find the key, which comes in three pieces, open the main door and escape. You can do this as three different characters - knight, wizard or serf each having different weapons and knowing different secret passages.

Very like Lunar Jetman, Ultimate have provided little or no instruction as to how the game is played to your best advantage - the entire thing is a learning experience, like life!


Control keys: Q = left, W = right, E = down, R = up, T = fire, Z or SYMBOL SHIFT- pick up and drop
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: highly responsive, 8-directional but needs practice!
Colour: very good
Graphics: excellent with masses of detail
Sound: good
Skill levels: just generally impossible!
Lives: 3

There's really nothing much to be said about Ultimate's graphics that hasn't already been said. Just marvellous. But the details of events is also fantastic, like when you lose a life, a cross marks the spot, but it stays there until the end of the game. From this you learn that if you pick up an object, and then put it down somewhere you'll be able to recognise which was the room from rediscovering that object. This becomes the best way to map out the rooms. If you aren't nuts already, Atic Atac is likely to be the turning point.

Atic Atac is in no way a true adventure but neither is it a shoot the baddies game. But it is one thing - FANTASTIC! There are many types of baddies, ghosts, spiders, ghouls, pumpkins and guest appearances from Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, Devil Witch and Mummy. You certainly get your money's worth from content alone! It's fast moving, fun to play and its originality, graphics and addictiveness make it excellent value for money. This is one of the best arcade games I have seen in a long time.

A drawback with complex games is that the control keys can get difficult to manage. Atic Atac uses Ultimate's favourite layout, but the keys are a handful and it's not possible to get full value from the game's potential if you use a joystick. Definitely a game for those with nimble fingers! Otherwise - just excellent. Ultimate have done it again.

Use of Computer: 90%
Graphics: 95%
Playability: 95%
Getting Started: 85%
Addictive Qualities: 93%
Value For Money: 95%
Overall: 92%

Summary: General Rating: Excellent

Award: Crash Game of the Month

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 3, Apr 1984   page(s) 75

Producer: Ultimate, 48K
£5.50 (2)

In a castle of some 200 rooms, filled with useful and useless objects, you must guide your Serf, Knight or Wizard to find the three pieces of the front door key and escape. The rooms are full of all types of monsters which may be despatched by throwing weapons at them in fortunately unlimited quantities. The rooms are seen in a sort of splayed perspective from above. Doors connect between rooms, stairs load up or down, trapdoors do even more unpredictable things. The complexities of this game are likely to keep you going for ages. Not only must you employ adventure seeking skills to get through but also arcade skills to keep your charmed life from being eroded away by the nasties. There are quite a lot of keys to master, even if you use a Kemptson, Protek or AGF joystick. The graphics are marvellous and if you aren't a nut already, then Atic Atac is likely to be the turning point. General rating: excellent, overall CRASH rating 92%.

Overall: 92%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 23, Feb 1984   page(s) 52


Deep dungeons and an attic full of ghosts, witches and spiders await the player of Atic Atac for the 48K Spectrum.

At the start of the colourful game you can choose one of the characters available and they include a wizard, knight and serf. Each of the characters uses a different weapon. The wizard uses a fireball, the serf a short sword and the knight an axe.

When your character is set, you will be transported to a three-dimensional representation of the entrance hall to the castle. To pass the entrance door you have to find the golden key. On the way you have to pick up food to keep you going. The authors have created an amusing and original representation of the strength of characters as it is whittled away by the attacking monsters. At the right of the screen is a turkey which, at the start of the game, has all its flesh. As the monsters attack the turkey will lose its skin and become bones. When it has been picked clean you lose one of your three lives.

Dotted around several of the rooms - which you will enter - are time-warp generators which, if not locked, will transfer you to another room or floor. There are also barred doors through which, on occasions, you will be able to pass to other rooms.

The lower levels of the castle are probably the most dangerous because they have specific monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. They can be destroyed only with objects which you collect and not with the weapon you are given at the start of the game.

Atic Atac is highly recommended for children and adults as the depth of plot and the GAS graphics make it a superb game. It can be obtained from Ultimate Play the Game, The Green, Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire LE6 5JU. It costs £5.50.

Gilbert Factor: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 28, Feb 1984   page(s) 31,32


Abandoned in the eerie, haunted castle you can only escape by finding the Golden Key.

The castle consists of a large number of rooms, each of which has between one and three doors. As you walk across a room and through a door, the screen clears and the new location is drawn. The program runs very fast and there is no delay while the redrawing takes place.

The quality of the graphics in this game is the best I've seen from a Spectrum. Ultimate has dispensed with some of the movement and sound routines which were shared by Jet Pac and Cookie, and have written some excellent replacements.

Movement is smooth, and user defined graphics are used to their limit to produce some amazing characters such as evil-looking witches complete with broomstick.

Control is via Kempston or AGF joysticks, or the four cursor keys. With four keys for direction, one to fire and one to pick up the objects, a joystick is really the only way to play.

As I said, the idea is to explore the rooms, collecting the objects and using them For example, some doors may he locked and to open them you'll have to find the correct colour-coded key.

Scores are printed a beautifully designed "parchment" scroll which runs down the right hand side of the screen. This shows the number of lives left, and also a large stuffed turkey! If you come into contact with any of the nestles, the turkey sheds some of its meat and gradually turns to a pile of bones. When all the meat's gone, you lose a life! Now that's novel.

Apart from the keyboard control, Atic Atac must rate as the best yet from Ultimate, it runs on a 48k Spectrum and is well worth the £5.50 which you'll have to pay.

Getting Started: 9/10
Graphics: 10/10
Value: 9/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Micro Adventurer Issue 3, Jan 1984   page(s) 28


MICRO: Spectrum 48K
PRICE: £5.50
FORMAT: Cassette
SUPPLIER: Ultimate Play the Game, The Green, Ashby de la Zouche, Leicestershire

Ultimate already have a formidable reputation among arcade-game fans, but Atic Atac is bound to fix their name firmly in the minds of adventurers.

There have been a number of attempts to breed a hybrid arcade-adventure, most notably Crystal's Halls of the Things and Atic Atac is the first game to transcend this worthy ideal to give us something new and original. It has the feel of both its ancestors without their flaws.

Simply put, this is a magnificent game. In a haunted castle you must search the five floors from atic to cellar for the three parts of the key you need to escape. On the way you'll meet thousands of nasties from witches and monks to flying pumpkins which you can zap in traditional arcade style.

Every room is displayed three-dimensionally from above and many are furnished lavishly. Transition from room to room is smooth and instant. The illusion of frenzied movement through a vast, labyrinthine building is utterly convincing.

To enhance the adventure side of the game there are more powerful enemies like Dracula and the Mummy who must be fought with special objects found scattered throughout the castle.

There are different coloured keys to be picked up to open coloured doors, and you must constantly replenish your food supply (graphically represented by a self-consuming roast chicken).

You can also choose to be a serf, knight or wizard, which affects the routes you travel and weapons you use.

When you finally die both an arcade-type score and an adventure success percentage are shown, so you can play the game to favour either of these goals.

With superb animation, easy control of your actions (you don't need six hands to use the controls), a huge area to explore and all wrapped up with a great sense of humour for a modest £5.50, this game can be recommended without reservation.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Computer Issue 2, Feb 1984   page(s) 59,61

48K Spectrum
Ultimate Play The Game

If you have heard Michael Jackson's Thriller album, and seen the video, you might like to play the game: Atic Atac. It is one of the spookiest, most action-packed, shoot-'em-uppiest programs yet to be seen on a Spectrum.

You are cast as the hero of the piece, and can choose roles. Your choice, knight, wizard or serf, determines which set of secret passages are open to you, the appearance of your computerised alter-ego, and weapons for zapping beasties with. Once this is done, and you have decided whether to use a joystick or the keyboard, you are beamed-down into the front room of a grand and spooky old house.

At this stage the best thing to do is to explore the house, finding your way around and memorising escape routes. But beware: the doors that guard the entrances to the rooms that you travel through, are liable to slam shut, without warning, leaving you trapped. When this happens, time marches on, your food supply situation, as indicated by the gradually devoured chicken on the right of the screen, diminishes, and worst of all, the haunting begins.

All manner of foul creatures appear to haunt you, they look like they have escaped from (he chamber of horrors. By zapping them with your trusty weapon, you send them packing, back to the other side from whence they came, but more to the point, you score.

Atic Atac combines elements of adventure with those of arcade games in a very original way. You need the red key to pass through a red door and must eat food to stop yourself from passing away prematurely due to hunger. The layout of the house is consistent, and so as you play the game more and more, you begin to find your way around. A number of real terrors, such as Frankenstein's Monster, Dracula and the Devil all appear and can give you quite a hard lime.

The ultimate aim in Atic Atac is to find the key to the front door, and to escape to freedom, presumably this happens only when you have explored every room in the building, which is not easy, but becomes progressively more likely the longer you practice. When the third reincarnation of yourself on screen finally bites the dust, your final score is displayed along with an indication of the percentage of the house which you actually visited. All in all, Atic Atac is one of the most impressive games I have yet seen on the Spectrum, but do not play it after midnight.

Overall: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 32, Nov 1984   page(s) 9

Set in a gothic castle with the dungeons and caverns below, Atic Atac is a superb arcade adventure. You move from room to room collecting parts of the golden key. Monsters galore seek to stop you, and there are other objects which help you in your quest. Atic Atac would have been a fine game anyway, but the care lavished on the program makes it outstanding. You have a choice of three characters to play, whose powers effectively create three games. The attention to detail is splendid, with humourous touches such as the roast chicken status indicator.

Position 7/50

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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