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Back And Forth

The idea of this game is to get Boris down to the bottom of the screen through the holes that move backwards and forwards on the platforms while avoiding the various patrolling objects and collecting the diamonds for bonus points. The move from top to bottom must be made in a certain number of seconds (20 on the first screen, increasing by five on successive screens).

The game plays well, the response is good, the graphics move smoothly and the sound is the best I have heard on any Dragon game. However, unfortunately, the program has several blemishes that spoil its perfection. At the beginning of each go the scores and lives are zeroed for a second. This shows bad programming technique. Also, one of the hazards is what are called "Energy Bursts". These appear randomly on one of the levels and kill you if you happen to be where they are. They successfully remove 50 per cent of the skill in the game as there is no way to avoid them - or to predict where and when they are going to appear!

The program supports a pause facility and pressing BREAK restarts a game, but the program performs a "cold start" on reset. Why can't programmers start their program with a NOP and set $72, 73 (the reset vector) to this start address? It would save a lot of cursing and would offer more protection as the "cold start" poke can be recovered from very easily, and if the program, like this one, needs to be EXECuted after loading, piracy becomes very easy.

To summarise, a very good game, marred, though not beyond reprieve, by basic design faults. It is surprisingly addictive and is yet another case of a simple concept being a good one. Well worth adding to your collection.