Product: Pres Games Disc 2
Publisher: ACP/Pres
Compatibility: Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Dave E
Originally published in EUG #47

The second of Pres' eight game compilations is another outing of games originally released under the Micro Power label; retaining the slow menu system and complete disc protection of the first one.

Blasting in first is Cybertron (aka Cybertron Mission) which is one of those games that, although impressive when first released, has not aged gracefully. The idea is to work your way across the screen from left to right without touching the aliens or the side of the maze you are trapped in. It's not easy and the 'aliens' are pathetic, although it is written in Mode 2 and has a nice display of colours.

Felix And The Fruit Monsters is the second of the Felix games and has more or less the same sprites as the Factory jaunt. It's a variation on the Snapper/Pac Man theme with an almost identical maze-screen yet there are no dots or pills to eat. Instead, floating around the maze are three fruits which you must prevent the monsters from eating. You can do this by dropping an 'ether' in their path - this will root them to the spot if they pass over it. Or you can try to pick up the item of fruit which has floated dangerously close to a monster and move it as far away as possible. Needless to say, contact with the monsters results in death; what your objective is is to keep the monsters and fruit apart for the length of time denoted at the top of the screen. It's not easy.

Exploring THE MINE Frenzy is a great arcade action game where you simply draw lines from one side of the screen to the other trying to trap a row of dots in the smallest part you define. Unfortunately, the game crashed when I reached about level twelve and gave a 'Bad program' error. I had got much further on the tape version so there is a software error involved in Pres' conversion to disc.

The Mine is one of those games that is so simple yet timeless that it is available even now for the mainstream computers. You are 'boxed in' by a wall of sludge which fills the whole screen. As you walk in one of the four directions, this sludge disappears and you create a makeshift maze. More or less in the corners of the maze are monsters which have just enough breathing space to pace backwards and forwards and plot how to reach and kill you. If you walk into their domain, destroying the sludge between them and you, you can shoot them or run away. Shooting is best on the red monsters which can't similarly retaliate. The green dragons breathe fire which reaches further than your laser beam, so running away from these is advisable. You can create a path underneath a rock and providing the dragon's hot on your heels, he will soon find himself crushed under the yellow cloud. Beware though: monsters left boxed in too long will simply float over the sludge to a point where getting you is easier!

Escape From Moonbase Alpha is sometimes billed as an adventure, but is not the NORTH, SOUTH, EAST affair. You are lost in a maze of rooms searching for a doctor and collecting bags of gold. There are a large variety of monsters (generally one to a room), mystical characters and objects about. You will need to fight any monsters before you can pick up gold in that room - and you will probably be turned into a frog by a mad television set at some point. (I kid you not!) Fortunately, you can tell whether or not you will win the fight by comparing your strength with that of the monster. If it looks doubtful, run away or eat a hulk pill to multiply your strength by five for just enough time to beat up the foe. A side effect of this is when you return to normal, you will be a seven stone weakling! If you think this sounds like a bit of fun, it is...for a while. It's a very different game but a little too slow and if you succeed, it depends on pure luck.

The game Moon Raider is present on so many compilations it beggars belief but smooth-scrolling shoot-'em-up games don't come any smoother! It nicely demonstrates some of the appeal of 8-bit computer systems while being very addictive and beautifully presented.

Rubble Trouble is the pick of the bunch, written by P. A. Morgan (who also wrote the fantastic Drain Mania) and involves running around a maze hurling the maze's rocks at the mutant Krackats. There are a few other games of this type available (Percy Penguin and Mango) but this is the best because a) the Krackats take a good few seconds to 'hatch', hence your caveman hero has enough time to work out a strategy for dealing with them before they attack; b) if you push the rocks and miss, they come hurtling back towards you, so you've got to remember to get out of their way, c) there are some special effect options: Hayfield where the screen is covered with rocks and Invisible where the maze flashes on and off at regular intervals and d) the instructions are accompanied by some of the best music ever heard on the Electron. A very professional game.

Swag is a game about dodging policeman and robbing banks and is not up to the standard of the rest. It's a two player game only so you can't play alone and the rules are very weird, as is the action. It seems to meander on forever and soon loses your interest.

In conclusion, Games 2 has stronger games than the first. Although it still has the flaws of the slow menu system, the lack of an option to print out the instructions for each game and the added glitch of the Frenzy bug, it was actually released on the same date (with GAMES 3) so this is understandable. Even if you forget Cybertron and Swag too, this compilation is value for money.