Spike in Transylvania

by Lyndon Sharp, Paul Griffiths, Russell Newman
Code Masters Ltd
Sinclair User Issue 118, Dec 1991   page(s) 47

Label: CodeMasters
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape, N/A Disk
Reviewer: Alan Dykes

Ging Gang Goole Goole etc, etc. Ah yes, those lazy, hazy days of summer spent at scout camp. Whilst ancient vicars of dubious reputation play contact sports with their cubs, bigger boys tell ghost stories to petrified youngsters. Transylvania usually reared up it's terrifying head in these stories and always managed to conjure up an aura of mystery and terror.

Beware of the vampire. That's what all the signs say at Transylvania's borders and believe me, most travellers should take heed. Unfortunately Spike isn't a normal traveller. Afflicted with a pathological desire to destroy the evil that has plagued this most scenic area of Hungary for centuries, he's condemned to a life of wandering and misery that befalls vicars of dubious reputation that get their pictures in the News of the World.

What you must do is save our diminutive hero from this fate worse than death is to take the reins and guide him along the path of evil that leads to eventual glory.

The game is basically a role playing game where you must gather and mix potions to defeat evil. A friendly wizard, once found, will name the ingredients that you need before you search around a village and a castle to collect the necessary gear. Some items will be easy to find, others less so and the game requires some thought about how to go about getting them. The village is quite straightforward but the castle is a large maze. Spike can only store six items at a time so if you find something more useful than a chocolate fire engine, make sure you make a note of where it is so you can go back and collect it later.

The graphics are acceptable but objects are sometimes difficult to make out. The main sprite is easy to control but dodgy graphic collisions and restricted movement (Spike sometimes appears to be nailed to objects), can make it a little frustrating. Fortunately enemies are a bit slow too, so the action, if you could really call it that, never gets too dangerous.

Spike in Transylvania isn't an especially long or difficult game. The main sprite looks a little like Captain Birdseye with a fireman's kit on, and although the game isn't cute it is involving and has some challenge. Spike won't drive anyone wild with enthusiasm or win big prizes for originality but it's certainly not a rusty old nail in the coffin either.

Spike's very much like jelly, cream and sponge dessert with a penknife trying to kill a whole load of nasties. Spike in Transylvania IS an adventurous title.

Graphics: 76%
Sound: 72%
Playability: 70%
Lastability: 75%
Overall: 74%

Summary: Spike is a creepy horror role playing fang that hasn't really got much depth or excitement. Although competently put together, it will only appeal if you're in the mood for a role playing game with a trivial feel to it.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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