Monday, 10 December 2012

Specvent Calendar Day 9 - Ant Attack

Ant Attack (Quicksilva, 1983)

And we swiftly return to my comfort zone of 1983, for the first ever isometric 3D video game (probably.) For me, this was the game that showed why the Speccy ruled the 80s, with it's Black & White Escher-inspired artwork that just wouldn't have looked right on the garish look-at-my-colour-palette C64 (though it was converted to the C64, the etherial essence did not transfer across...) 

In essence the game was a fairly simple search and retrieve premise, with you searching for your mate (as you can see from the first screen above, the gender is up to you, though a hetero outlook is assumed, unfortunately...) and escorting them to safety in the midst of a giant Ant Attack (say, that was a well-named game, there.) It's a shame, given that the playing window is so scrum,ptious, that the surround is ugly as hell, but the default Sinclair font was used almost universally back then. A shame also that the control scheme was so finicky, with no less than 12 keys, including four for different firing distances for your antpowder gun and four to switch views - oh for a twin analogue joystick setup :)

Still, file this as another one I have fond memories of playing with dad back then, and if the gameplay doesn't quite hold up today the graphics certainly do. At the time Crash gave it 85%, with only the control scheme keeping it from Smash status, though four years later in a retrospective they marked it down to a stupefying 22%, saying it looked "dismal" with weak gameplay. The same article downgraded Head Over Heels to 65% and Knight Lore to 51% though, so was obviously written by an idiot...

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