Publisher: Romik
Compatibility: BBC B, B+, Master 128 & Acorn Electron
Reviewed by: Dave E
Originally published in EUG #47

So is this a 'neet' game? [Groan! - Ed] Bet your brekkies it is, "OK!" Thanks to Romik software, one of the characters from the cereal Weetabix is invading your Electron to protect us from 'The Titchies', an inferior brand of morning wheat-diet. Naturally enough, these are embodied as a pack of wiggly green space invaders up above your character Dunk who moves back and forth over the bottom of the screen picking up and firing rockets at them.

Probably the most ironic thing about this title is that it is the best thing Romik ever produced and the only one that the public got free (by collecting cereal box tokens)! That said, it's a pleasant variation on the Invaders theme; the Titchies are unfriendly and drop lightning bolts, Dunk must avoid and ultimately destroy them.

The game is more forgiving than many and rather than killing if hit by a bolt, Dunk will be 'shielded' from it by a kind of incomplete halo automatically appearing over his head. Energy ('Neet Weet Energy'!) is deducted if this has to be done by the computer and the observant player can operate the shield himself to avoid such a penalty.

The action takes place on a Mode 2 screen so everything is colourful and bright; Dunk is of various colours, the rockets are white, the score is purple and there's no rubbish on screen. As more and more Titchies are despatched, the game speeds up - arguably to increase difficulty but, as many a programmer knows, because less memory is needed to move the fewer characters.

The missiles to fight with are passed through the yellow floor at a distance easily reachable by Dunk. He must first collect one and then try and judge the best moment to throw it up. The titchies, not endowed with any intelligence, have a lucky habit of sidestepping them, particularly when flying high up the screen - the rocket takes longer to reach them there and they have more time to move! A new rocket appears when the other one strikes home or disappears above screen.

As the game progresses, the energy ticks down with each few seconds and each hit Dunk takes from overhead. Unfortunately, the player doesn't require a lot of skill to operate the shield, generally keeping the energy at a level causing no concern and this tragically makes the game unchallenging. Another small niggle is players are expected to know they must press "M" to begin a new game without any intelligent message to inform them.

The code is short and the game itself loads in just over a minute from cassette. It is a simple and fun machine-code game that was developed to appeal to children and adults of a different time - being the only game I know offered free by a cereal manufacturer! Although not masquerading as a masterpiece, Weetabix Versus The Titchies is a straightforward retro game which, through this uniqueness, achieves the status of 'classic'.