Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Adventure Cross Monocromatic Shoot-'Em-Up;
Author : Andrew Foord
Standalone Release(s) : 1987: PLAN B, Bug Byte, £1.99
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron/BBC Dual Version
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : BUG BYTE, Liberty House, 222 Regent Street, LONDON W1R 7DB
Tel: 01/439 0666
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
The sequel to Plan B - "The Electron User Golden Game". Explore the computer complex, defeat the security system and escape.
You are back in charge of a single war drone. Your job is explore a Togrian Computer Complex, destroy the computer parts, fight off the security robots and escape. To get out you will need to find a number of keys to get the front door open. You will also need to find other keys to open other doors within the complex.
You start at the arrival lounge in the complex. You will see on the screen:
1. No. of keys collected and not used (1 key per door)
2. Energy level depleted by guards, gained by collecting spanners and oil cans.
3. Ammo ... can be collected around the building.
4. No. of computer parts undamaged. On reaching zero, run for it!
Z - Left, X - Right, <SHIFT> - Up, <RETURN> - Open Door
P/O - Pause Off/On, Q/S - Sound Off/On
Instructions' Source : PLAN B2 (Bug Byte) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Red-hot Sequel"
Seven months after ELECTRON USER awarded PLAN B the title of Golden Game, Bug-Byte has released its red-hot sequel called, surprise, surprise, PLAN B2. So what novelties are in store for hardened fans of the original game?
Well, at first sight not a lot seems to have changed. To my disappointment there is still no use of colour, but I hadn't really expected Bug-Byte to have been able to do this and keep all the different characters moving around at the same incredible speed.
The plot in the inlay card looked familiar - which wasn't surprising, as it is identical to that of its predecessor. As plots go, it still holds up as a fairly decent scenario.
You are in control of a single war drone. Your job is to explore the Togrian Computer Complex, find and destroy all of the computer's parts, and escape intact. The objective is complicated by the fierce and persistent security robots which patrol the complex's many rooms. Nasty beasts, these - they can fire two dozen rounds of laser bolts quicker than you can say micro-processor.
Your drone is fully equipped with a rapid-fire laser, but your ammo is limited. Replacement stocks can be found in various locations, usually guarded by more security guards.
You have a shield too. This will absorb quite a number of enemy laser bolts, and you can even ram the security robots, causing them to disintegrate in a most undignified manner. Be careful, though, as repair kits for your shield are difficult to find.
In your search through the complex's many rooms careful thought is required to reach your objective. Some walls block your targets, making them appear seemingly unreachable. That is, until you realise that they will disintegrate under fire.
Not all walls are this obliging. Some have hidden weak spots which you must find quickly while the robot guards are going their level best to vaporise your shields.
There are sliding doors which can't be opened by anything short of a key. The keys are found dotted about, usually in the most awkward places, and come in four different types. It is most frustrating to battle your way up to a strategic door only to find the wrong key is in your sweaty clutches.
Oilcans and spanners sprinkled around the complex will replenish your shields, although more than once I was needlessly obliterated while trying for an unnecessary top-up.
The security robots are the bain of your life. No sooner has a whole batch been satisfactorily polished off - to the accompaniment of some very good sound effects - than an even larger horse materialises, drenching your drone in shield-depleting rocket fire.
This makes your quest to destroy the complex become almost secondary to hunting down the elusive cans of re-vitalising oil and searching out the odd pain-relieving spanner.
Upon being vaporised at the end of a fruitless game, you may object to the message that "You appear to have snuffed it", which is painfully obvious. But it's fun, all the way through.
The controls are identical to the original PLAN B, as has been everything described so far. So now to the differences:
Firstly, in the original game your drone could only wander over black backgrounds. In B2 a most amazing scenery-masking technique is employed, allowing you to drift over pillars, up walls and through certain floors.
PLAN B had fairly nice-looking large sprites which were not animated. The sequel features extremely detailed lovingly-crafted beasties, all of which are animated in some fashion. They tend to be smaller though, to allow for more speed.
One annoying feature of PLAN B was the bullets. These flickered at times. In PLAN B2 however, not only is every single object 100 per cent flicker-free, but the whole game is faster than the original.
Although in black and white, PLAN B2 exudes quality and craftsmanship from the high-resolution metallic-looking sprites to the textured background of the computer complex. Nothing seems to have been wasted here - every ounce of speed has been wrung out of the game, and at the expense of nothing whatsoever. I ran PLAN B2 on both a BBC Micro and a Master 128, with neither being any faster at all than my Electron.
Generally, all sprite movement has been improved immensely. You can have no real idea of just what this means until you see the game in action. It is probably the best showcase of what your Electron can achieve that I have ever seen.
Sound .......................... 10
Graphics ....................... 10
Playability .................... 10
Value for money ................ 10
Overall ........................ 10
"Electron User Golden Game"
Chris Nixon, ELECTRON USER 5. 4