Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Sentinel, The'

Rating:4 User: Matt_B

Geoff Crammond had already made a name for himself with the excellent flight simulator Aviator and the realistic car racing game Revs on the BBC Micro but this original 3D puzzler was the first of his games to be ported to the Spectrum.

Being designed around the four colour capabilities of the BBC Micro and C64, the game doesn't quite look at its best on the Spectrum, although programmer Mike Follin did a good job of recreating the effect with shading. Tim Follin, as usual, ekes some excellent multi-channel ditties, albeit very short ones, out of the Spectrum's beeper into the bargain.

Mainly though, it's the gameplay that impresses. There's a nasty creature, the Sentinel, which stands on the highest point above a 3D landscape, slowly rotating and absorbing everything it can see. You can teleport around the landscape, but only to where you can look down on your destination. This usually means you've got to move around the landscape to gain height bit by bit and gradually build up towers of blocks that will allow you to finally look down upon the Sentinel and absorb it.

With 10,000 algorithmically generated levels, there's plenty to keep you busy, although you don't need to complete all of them to finish the game; depending on how well you do at a level you can skip several of them. Indeed some levels seem impossible and you might have to backtrack to an earlier one and finish with a different score to progress.

Overall, whilst it's full marks for the concept I'd give the faster and more colourful BBC Micro version the nod over the Spectrum one, although it's a game worth experiencing whatever format you choose.