FOUR GREAT GAMES
FOR THE TIMEX SINCLAIR
BY DAVID GROSJEAN
Mothership is a space combat game with a 3-D simulation. The top half of the screen shows the stars of outer space on a stationary background while the bottom half shows a trench (similar to the one in Star Wars in which the Death Star is destroyed). You are in your fighter flying down this trench. Your controls (left, right, up, down, and fire) are easy to learn. The illusion of depth comes from the use of converging lines to show the trench, and the illusion of flight from the constantly changing display.
At first you are fighting drones which emanate from the huge mothership seen cruising back and forth across the top of your screen. They fly toward you while shooting, or they simply fly at you on suicide missions.
The drones are worth from 100 to 500 points depending on where you are in the corridor. The higher up in the corridor you are, the more the drones are worth, and the faster everything moves. After shooting ten drones without losing one of your ships, the drone attack stops, and the mothership begins shooting at you. You must hit it three times before it is destroyed. You are awarded from 1000 to 5000 points depending on where you are in the corridor.
There are three levels of difficulty. In the first, the drones do not shoot at you. In the second, they do. The third level is just like the second except that it is much more difficult. You do not crash if you hit the sides of the corridor in the first two levels, but you do in the third.
This game is simple, yet it can get very difficult. The speed, smoothness, and excellent use of graphics make this a superb game and a lot of fun.
In Sea War your submarine is displayed just below the surface of the water, and your mission is to destroy the enemy U-boats, warships, and helicopters, all of which are capable of destroying you.
The game starts by scrolling from right to left a very impressive and fast "title page" asking for the number of players (the limit is two). A large ship then travels across the screen and deposits your submarine; then the action starts.
The water surface is constantly moving, and the enemy shots are constantly assaulting you. Later in the game the enemies, mainly the subs, practically cover the screen with shots; this is when the game gets very hectic. The most notable features are the helicopters and your death scene.
You have five controls--up, down, forward (you drift back if your finger is off the key), fire up, and fire across. You must destroy the helicopters by firing up, the warships by firing either across or up, and the U-boats by firing across. Helicopters earn you 100 points, warships 50 points, and U-boats 20 points. At 1000, 4500, and at several subsequent intervals you get additional subs.
Sea War is an excellent game--one of the best shoot-'em-ups I have seen. The use of graphics is astounding. The action is quite fast (it is all machine code) and the controls are a little difficult to get used to. Although a full keyboard is best for playing this game, the TS1000 keyboard is adequate.
In 3D Monster Maze you are in a maze running away from T. (Tyrannosaurus) Rex. The object is to get out alive!
The game begins with a circus barker telling you the background of the maze. He then gives you the choices of seeing the instructions, quitting, or starting. The computer takes less than 30 seconds to set up the maze, and then the action begins.
You are walking (or running) down a corridor which has dark black walls; the corridors branching off your path have gray walls. Messages at the bottom of the screen give you reports such as "He is hunting for you," "Rex has seen you," and "RUN he is beside you." Each step increases your score by 5 points. When you reach the exit, you are awarded 200 points and put in a new maze. The instructions do not tell you what the exit looks like, but, when you see it, you know that you have escaped.
The game is very easy to learn to play, but it is difficult to win consistently. The controls are simple: the arrow keys are used to indicate left, right, and forward (up).
The program uses Basic and machine code (to produce and move the pictures quickly). Although the pixels on the TS1000 are rather coarse, the 3-D simulation is marvelously effective. The illusion of a corridor with extension is created by converging lines, and Rex gets larger as he gets closer. The simplicity and speed of this program make it fun for all ages.
In Mazogs you are an adventurer in search of treasure hidden in a huge maze. You must find the treasure and return to the entrance of the maze within a predetermined number of moves.
Scattered throughout the maze are creatures called Mazogs whose job is to kill you. You can kill the Mazog if you have a sword (you either find one lying around in the maze or exchange half your moves for one); however, if you get into a fight with one and do not have a sword, you have a 50/50 chance of surviving. Killing a Mazog increases the number of moves you have.
Also scattered in cells throughout the maze are prisoners who help you by telling you which way to go, but their directions will take you only a short distance.
Several commands help you in the search. For example, View shows a larger part of the maze than the 20-space window around you. Status Report tells how many moves you have left, how many moves to the treasure, and how many moves the various commands cost.
After starving to death (running out of moves) or successfully returning to the entrance with the treasure, you can see the full maze which is four screens large. At any point you can quit the game, and the computer will tell you how far you got. After losing or successfully returning to the entrance with the treasure, you can look at the maze and solution.
Mazogs is an excellent graphics adventure game. It is outstanding because of its mixture of complexity and simplicity, its speed, and its ability to start the new player off on the ground floor. The use of graphics is especially impressive. You, the Mazogs, the treasure, and the sword are represented as moving figures, not tokens. There is a great deal of action in a fight with a Mazog. With three levels of difficulty you will be challenged for hours. The documentation is also good.