Product: Games For Your Acorn Electron
Publisher: Virgin Games
Compatibility: Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Dave E
Originally published in EUG #70

Games For Your Acorn Electron is a collection of BASIC games in type-in format, which originally retailed for just £2.95 and was published by Virgin Books. Perhaps the strangest thing about the book per se is that it has completely the wrong blurb - presumably the printers forgot to change the Acorn Electron description with the Spectrum one!

You get 21 programs - not all of them games! - including a few which look quite impressive. 3D Terror Chase is easily the best, coming first on both book and companion disc. This game sets you in a haunted castle from which you need to escape. You do this by wandering the corridors and choosing whether to turn left, right or continue forward. Colour-switching is used to make the doors on each corridor shuffle (and appear and disappear). A radar on the left alerts you to whether any of the three ghosts are on the prowl nearby. If they catch you it's curtains and you'll have to start again.

Would that all of the programs were up to this standard! Alas, from this point on it's all downhill, I'm afraid. Draughts is a very poor (and very slow) version of the board game of which there are many better versions available; Life Change and Magic Square are merely question-and-answer sessions; words fail me in relation to offerings like Tight Squeeze, Dr. Audio and Dr. Watson which are almost identical versions of the same 'guess the number' game!

There are some other games in there that, like 3D Terror Chase, do try to present some new ideas though. Invader Blaster is an interesting, although sadly far from polished, attempt to combine a flight simulator with alien-bashing. Knightsbridge is played on a chessboard with all players playing with knight pieces and selecting which piece gets to move next by the throw of a dice. Then we've got some very simple ideas like Spider 'N Fly and Pactrek. Nothing that's going to set the world on fire, but perhaps fun for sixty seconds. Certainly not any more.

The demos included are predominantly graphical. Better displays are generated by Acornsoft's Creative Graphics and the programs on the Introductory Cassette although I did find the Chain Demo to be an interesting idea. It shows a spacecraft hurtling downwards through space upon a scrolling backdrop. It's all done in BASIC so the limitations are plain to see, yet it does have a peculiar pull to it.

Now, let's have a think about that misleading blurb again. The programs described in it sound pretty good; the programs you actually get are, unforunately, less than impressive. I'd hazard a bet a few people actually returned their copies of Games For Your Acorn Electron on that basis alone. However, there were probably a lot more that ploughed through the dross anyway and were left bitterly disappointed. Add to this that none of the Games For Your Acorn Electron have on-screen instructions - and many of them have some quite barmy game controls! - and you won't be surprised to hear that, 3D Terror Chase aside, I don't recommend any of them.