SWORDS & SERPENTS
BY STEVE ARRANTS
Following in the success of the "Mazes-Monsters-Dungeons-Dragons" game genre, Swords and Serpents is a one or two player quest game.
The Warrior Prince must recapture his ancestral castle by collecting various treasures scattered throughout four levels, returning them to a store room on the first level. Along the way he battles Phantom Knights and Red Sorcerers. In the two player versions he is aided by Nilrem the wizard who uses his magical powers in tough moments.
The game begins in the Store Room on the first level. The Prince and Nilrem move along corridors searching for treasure. Phantom Knights, evil spirits able to move through walls, and Red Sorcerers, apprentice warlocks who spit fireballs, try to stop them. If attacked, the Prince defends himself with his enchanted sword and armor. A sword strike will vanquish a Phantom Knight. To defeat a fireball, the Prince must spear it head on--not as easy as it sounds. If hit by either adversary, the Prince and Nilrem lose half a life from the nine they began with.
Depending on the two-player version selected, Nilrem begins with no magic spells or four. The wizard can acquire extra spells by reading scrolls hidden throughout the castle. Spells can freeze Phantom Knights, destroy any enemy, heal the Prince, dissolve walls, and make the quest easier.
To get to another level (there are four) the Prince must pick up and use a key found on each level. As you descend through each level of the maze the perils increase, as does the value of each treasure. On the final level it is a continuous battle to pick up treasures while beating off Phantom Knights and Red Sorcerers. The final level also contains the lair of the Sinister Serpent. Find his lair and learn his secrets for extra points.
As with Bomb Squad, Swords and Serpents is a game that requires a long playing time. You might spend an entire afternoon playing and still not complete the entire game. Swords and Serpents is exciting and, on the whole, well done. The graphics are one drawback, however. Nilrem, for example, looks like a sick crab. The rules take a while to learn--expect to play on the first level before getting the patterns of play down.
Requiring both the Intellivoice Synthesis Module and the Intellevision Master Component, Bomb Squad is an exciting race against time.
The object of this outstanding game is to correctly guess a code number which will disarm the bomb. You select one to three digits to guess and any of three skill levels. A flashing code number display appears. Within this four-by-five grid is the secret code number. Use the disc to move the cursor over an element, press a top side button, and a circuit board appears. Frank, the demolition expert, tells you which circuits to repair or replace and in which order. Wire cutters are used to disconnect the circuit from the board. Pliers remove the part to the edge of the board and drop it off. Move the pliers to the top of the screen, select a new part of either the same shape or color and put it in place. A soldering iron connects it to the board.
After a successful repair, you are returned to the code number display. If the particular element you were working on is part of the code, it is lit in green. You may guess the code at this time. If you are correct, the city is saved. Guess wrongly and the bomb explodes and you lose the game.
Points are awarded for cutting out and replacing circuits, completing the repair, guessing the correct digit and for disarming the bomb. At succeeding levels of difficulty, the clock is faster, there are more parts to replace, and there is the chance that a circuit will catch fire.
The graphics, sound, and execution are amazing. Bomb Squad is an excellent alternative to the chase, climb, and destroy games on the market.
A properly tuned color T.V. is a necessity. Some colors are subtle variations. Without a properly tuned set, one color can look like another.
I hesitate to call Bomb Squad a game, since it is more of a puzzle. Patience, skill, a good memory and steady hands are essential for completing this game.