Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Skool Daze'

Rating:5 User: ewgf

Skooldaze is fantastic. I can still remember going back to my mate's house in 1984 (or whenever the game was released) after messing about in the snow* at the park, and seeing Skooldaze for the first time. It was amazing. It was one of those few times where, like with Knightlore or Doom (PC) you stare at the screen in disbelief. Here was something you hadn't thought possible, in this case a large number of independent people, moving about a realistic game world in the shape of a school, and doing all the things that traditionally went on in schools, such as kids rushing about, teachers shouting, both pupils and teachers writing on blackboards, kids being late for lessons and the teachers dishing out lines, etc. The pupils also used catapults, which was a bit anachronistic in 1984, and totally ancient now (it's all knives and guns now, in our American-ised schools). And wow!, the game was so atmospheric.

* Snow - white, wet, freezing stuff that used to fall from the sky around here in winter. Now it's just rain and the occasional sleet. Thanks global warming...

And playing Skooldaze was even better than watching it! It played like a dream, with you able to catapult teachers (and if you were quick you could scarper, and so some other poor kid would get the blame, and the lines), punch your mates, write on blackboards, skive of lessons (or turn up for them, but thankfully you don't have to do any actual work when there), and the controls are very easy to use.

And when you tire of messing around causing havoc, there is the actual game objective to do. Either shoot or touch each shield that hangs on the walls, until they all flash, and then catapult the teachers who will each say a letter. These letters, chosen randomly at the start of each game, together will form the combination of the safe that you have to open to get your school report, so you can alter it before your parents see it. Only... The history teacher is so old that he cannot be trusted to remember his letter, so it's been hypnotically implanted into his mind - to get him to say his letter you have to write his date of birth on a blackboard for him to see. And to find his DOB you have to listen to the questions and answer in his classes.

Believe me, it's far, far more fun than it might sound. And speaking of sound, the ingame sound is sparse but effective, the graphics are very nice indeed, and the controls are well laid out and easy to use. You can even rename the skoolkids and the teachers (a real stroke of genius, as it made all of us schoolkids (at the time) relate the game to real life).

Minus points? Well, it's too easy when you get used to it (although still enormous fun), there's no pause or abort function, and, well that's it really. Oh, you can't delete something on a blackboard, you can't wipe it off (the teachers do, when they start a lesson, though). Those minus points don't lessen the game by anything much, though, so it's a 5/5 game for me!