Microsphere's first release for the 64 is an attempt
to evoke the best (!) days of your life in the small
screen. The star of the piece is Eric, tearaway schoolboy
and bad report merchant -- and a bad report is what
the game is all about. Sitting innocently within the
school safe is the account of Eric's achievements for
the last term. Eric, being the little beggar that he
is, doesn't take long to read what is written therein
and discovers the news definitely isn't good. The headmaster
hasn't seen the report yet (phew!) but when he does
his reaction could be likened to that of a low yield
nuclear device going off -- not very desirable at all!
Realising the seriousness of his dilemma, Eric decides
it would be best if the head didn't see his end of term
report, and hits upon a plan to retrieve the incriminating
documents from the school safe . . .
school's security is of a high standard and the combination
to the safe is very well protected -- each teacher only
knows a fragment of the combination. To get the masters
to spill the beans, Eric has to set the school shields,
decorating the walls, flashing. The shields need a good
bash to get them to flash, but some are top high to
reach. Eric's only solution is to biff one of his 'friends'
wandering about the place, and then clamber on the prostrate
form of his chum to gain extra height -- brutal but
effective. Once all the shields are flashing, Eric can
knock the teachers for six and, while stars are whizzing
about their heads, the extra confusion caused by the
stroboscopic shields will make them tell their part
of the code -- except for the History master, who's
memory is not what it used to be and has had to have
his part of the code 'hypnotically implanted'. It can
only be retrieved by finding his date of birth.
in any school, the day is timetabled and split into
breaks and lesson times. Relevant information is relayed
to you via a window at the bottom of the screen and
when the bell goes for a lesson, you are informed which
lesson to attend and who will be taking the class. Failure
to attend a lesson will incur a penalty of a few hundred
lines from any teacher who finds Eric loitering in the
corridors. If Eric amasses ten thousand lines or more,
he's out on his ear and the game is over.
occasionally proves dangerous, as there is usually someone
trying, metaphorically speaking, to drop you in it.
Usually one of the lower form boys tells Eric what's
going on and that Eric must prevent it happening before
the end of break. Einstein, the school swot, is keen
on running off to Mr Whackit and informing him of any
plans. If he succeeds, Eric has to do two thousand lines.
Not much fun by anybody's standards.
is equipped with a number of essential weapons, though
not surprisingly, the use of all of them is banned within
the school. However, he can only get in trouble if caught
-- any nefarious behaviour in full view of a teacher
results in a couple of hundred lines The catapult is
quite handy -- an elastic propelled missile is quite
enough to knock over both teachers and pupils. A good
old fashioned punch fells the hardiest of schoolchildren
and is brought into action with the H key. Unfortunately,
teachers are not impressed by physical violence and
punish Eric with yet more lines whenever they witness
the game a large part of the screen is taken up by a
3D view of the school, designed just like the real thing,
with an assembly hall, the head's study, classrooms
and other such scenery. Only a small portion of the
school is shown at any lime, so when Eric moves left
and right it 'scrolls'. Eric's chums wander around the
school, each behaving according to the dictates of their
own personality. All the standard stereotypes are included,
such as Einstein the school swot, Angelface the bully,
and Boy Wander -- the tearaway and trouble maker. The
teachers also have their own personalities, ranging
from the hip and trendy Mr Withit to the decrepit Mr
Humourous, befitting instructions
and many excellent touches, such as the option to
rename the characters.
Julian, I have never had the opportunity to play
the Spectrum version of Skooldaze,
and as it's over a year old now, I did wonder
whether this conversion would prove a bit stale.
However, on playing it became clear that the game's
many unusual and original elements have worn well.
Graphically I found Skooldaze
very poor and I would have thought a bit more
colour could have been injected into it. Also,
I feel that the screens should have scrolled rather
than 'slid', and the sound effects and music could
have been better. 'Cosmetics' aside, Skooldaze
is a fun game to play (and watch, in fact) due
to its highly innovative nature.
Characters are reasonably well
animated for their size, but colour is sparse and
'scrolling' is poor.
few, weak sound effects and a short tune.
Harder to get into than the real
thing, but certainly
Probably the first time you'll
actually want to stay at school!
For Money 82%
Worth sacrificing a few school
Schooldays have never
been such fun.