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Issue 2 (Dec 1985)
Added: 16 Jun 2016
Budgie, Â£2.99 cass
Why software companies insist on having several different labels is never quite clear but Budgie is Alligata's budget software arm and also the creators of Super Sam for the Amstrad.
Boris, the town's green and slimy monster, has escaped from and broken his cage. It's no longer safe to walk the streets since Boris, according to the inlay picture, is a lunatic axe wielding psychopath, Well now Boris has holed himself up in a fortress and is doing his evil there, so Super Sam has been sent in to capture and cage Boris.
Scattered around the fortress you find parts of Boris' cage. These you need to collect before you can face the monster but also around the castle you discover various energy sapping entities. Run out of energy and it's one of your three lives lost. Other possible health hazards include the open manholes scattered about the place.
Sam lives in a pseudo perspective view world, a sort of mixture between 2 and 3D, with a wealth of scenery ranging from the battlements to the sewers of the fortress. Displayed with flick screen rooms, the pro-gram conforms to the pattern set by many before it. Each room may have several exits and some are hidden quite well. One portal to another room is cleverly hidden as the safe in a bank. Some rooms are of a deadly nature and one, hidden in the sewers, deep within the bowels of the castle, contains a bomb. Wander in here and it's game over, each of your men getting blown up as you reappear to continue your quest.
In some screens it's almost impossible to move without fatally losing energy, so around the fortress there are some pur-ple syringes offering temporary invulnerability against the diff-erent demons and ghouls. Your time left for super man status is displayed as a countdown and until that reaches zero travelling through the baddies does you no harm at all.
As you collect the many pieces of cage, a replica is built up on the status screen so you know how far you've got. If you lose all your lives, either through falling down manholes or an encounter with Boris, a percen-tage score is displayed.
The graphics are horrendous. It fails to compete with the standard set by many Mastertronic games and apart from terrible graphics, the gameplay is awkward due to difficult movement. Really, this was a terrible mistake. Software companies must learn that having a budget label is no excuse for producing awful games like this one. Nobody expects an absolutely astounding game to come out of this price bracket but reasonable games should not be impossible. There's plenty of talent out there, if only people like Budgie would make better use of it.
After seeing Super Sam on the Spectrum, I was convinced it was impossible to achieve anything lower on the Amstrad. I'm afraid I was wrong. Both moving and static graphics are abysmal. The colour choice is extremely unfortunate, bringing together colours previously seen next to each
other only on test cards. The movement is appalling, flickery doesn't even come close to describe the stroboscopic nat-ure of the sprite plotting routines. The game itself is an extremely poor attempt at a tried and tested genre. The idea is extremely simplistic though the overall task is difficult since you have to battle against extremely insensitive keyboard control. The only good thing I can see coming from this is for Budgie to learn from their mistake and pull their socks up in the future.
Super Sam wasn't so much of a bad idea as a tragic one. There is nothing like enough game there to warrant its existence. Granted, this hasn't stopped other software houses from being as guilty as Budgie (and most of them wouldn 't flinch at charging a tenner for the same program). Despite the embarrasing level of the game, I cannot condemn it totally as far worse has appeared tor the Amstrad. Hopefully, the next title from Budgie will be better and they will start being good, healthy competition for Mastertronic. Such a state of affairs would be very good indeed for the end users of budget games.
Very weak apart from the scrolling message.
Poor movement and poor statics.
Pleasant tune but otherwise dull.
Quite easy to get into but not much fun.
Addictive qualities 35%
The thrill of the challenge soon palls.
Value for money 48%
Overpriced for what's on offer.
If you like a really good bargain then this isn't for you.
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