CRASH Smash

SKOOL DAZE

Producer: Microsphere
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £5.95
Language: machine code

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Skool Daze is the best daze of your life and if the gratuitous violence possible in this extraordinary new game is anything to go by, it is probably best to go through them all in a daze! The nefarious hero (or is he an anti-hero) of this piece is called Eric, although the program allows you to input a new name if you prefer to personalise your software, and you can change the names of the other ‘actors’ in this play. ‘Play’ and ‘actors’ are apt words in this game, for it carries on its own life regardless of what you are doing, in fact the demo alone is like watching ‘Grange Hill’ on the telly!

The simple object of Skool Daze is to get the end of term report out of the headmaster’s safe, so suppressing the appalling information contained in it. However, achieving this aim is not so simple. In essence, to get the safe combination code, you must set all the school shields hanging on the walls flashing. You do this by hitting them with your catapult. Once they are all flashing, you must extract the code letters from the teachers, each one of which has been entrusted with one letter. This is done by knocking them over. All except the history master who, because of his advanced age, has had his code letter implanted in his brain by hypnosis.

The methods to be used to set shields flashing, knock over teachers and extract the information are very varied, and typically school-like. But even with the codes, all is not over, because Eric must try out all the combinations on a blackboard. And even with the safe accessed safely, Eric must then cover his tracks by stopping all the shields from flashing by the same method he used to start them.

This may all sound involved and fun, and it is, but the bare bones of the plot don’t even begin to explain how hard the task is made by the ants nest building of a school! It swarms with kids and teachers, the former milling innocently around, bopping each other in the eyes, scrawling rude messages on the blackboard, tripping up masters and generally causing havoc to Eric’s endeavours; the latter handing out lines, ringing bells to change classes, asking daft educational questions, and generally being just like school teachers. Quite honestly, the Department of Education should have this game suppressed before it really causes trouble...

CRITICISM

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COMMENTS

Control keys: cursors or Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, plus; S for sit/stand, H for hit, W for write, J/L jump/leap and O or F for fire
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: excellent — it seems an inadequate word
Sound: very good, good tune
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
Screens: scrolling school building
Special features: masked character graphics
General rating: excellent value, plenty to do, addictive, unusual.

Use of computer92%
Graphics93%
Playability95%
Getting started93%
Addictive qualities94%
Value for money94%
Overall93%

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