Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Alias††††††††† : SPHEROIDS
Game Type††††††††† : Arcade; Pinball Simulation
Standalone Release(s)† : 1988: ROUND ONES, Alternative, £1.99
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility††† : Electron/BBC Dual Version
Actual compatibility††† : Electron, BBC B, B+, Master 128
Supplier††††††††††† : ALTERNATIVE, Units 3-6 Baileygate Industrial Estate,
††††††††††††††††† † Pontefract, WEST YORKSHIRE WF8 2LN. Tel: 07977 79777
Disc compatibility†††† : Unknown
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...oops, wrong story!
You control a Block Assault Transport (B.A.T.) at the bottom of the screen. With this, you must deflect a Block Assault Laser Launch (B.A.L.L.) towards a series of blocks at the top. This ain't as easy as it sounds!
A collision between a block and a B.A.L.L. will usually destroy a block but some blocks have stronger shielding and will take more hits to destroy.
Also roaming around some sectors will be conflictors (these are not very nice to know) and laser whose fire will destroy you.
To make life a little easier, you are equipped with a Force Shield which will protect you from these. It also has a useful side effect of deflecting the B.A.L.L. back up the screen and also catches Driblets. (You mean I didn't tell you about these!?!)
Diblets are released by mystery blocks when hit. Catching one will cause an effect which may be good (such as giving you an Annihilator) or bad (trial and error time again, folks!)
All blocks are colour coded like this:
Normal block††††††††† -††† white
Tough block†††††††††† -††† yellow
Speed block†††††††††† -††† red
Mystery block†††††††† -††† black
Z - Left,†† X - Right,†† SPACE - Release B.A.L.L./Fire Annihilator
P - Pause†† ESCAPE - Restart,†† RETURN - Force Field
NOTE: A cassette remote control is desirable for this program as higher levels are loaded from tape in blocks of eight screens, i.e. 1-8, 9-16, etc.
Instructions' Source†† : ROUND ONES (Alternative) Back and Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Breaking Out Again"
Once upon a time, just about at the dawn of time as far as computers are concerned, there was a simple, but addictive, little arcade game called BREAKOUT. In it you controlled a bat and had to hit a ball which bounced off various blocks and destroyed them.
The BREAKOUT idea vanished into the wilderness for about five years, but has now reappeared in a number of guises. Alternative's ROUND ONES - actually called SPHEROIDS on the title screen - is the latest addition and comes in at the budget end of the market.
In this latest version, the bat has become a Block Assault Transporter and the ball is a Block Assault Laser Launch (Gettit?). Many of the blocks are simple and require one hit by the ball to destroy them. Others, coloured yellow, require two or more hits.
Red blocks increase the speed of the ball while black ones release a driblet. Catching these can increase the size of the bat (although it might reduce it at other times) or they may cause the entire screen to explode - I'll leave it for you to discover which driblet does what.
Destroying all of the blocks on one screen will move you to the next. When you have completed eight screens the next set is automatically loaded from the cassette. There are some 100 or so to master in all.
The second and subsequent sets of screens introduce new hazards. Lasers fire at you and multi-coloured conflictors can cause havoc with the ball. Your force field protection will come in very useful, but this is in limited supply and must be used sparingly.
It's a tough game, so the programmers have supplied you with nine badly needed lives. It took me ages to master just the first screen, and I frequently lost the balls one after the other in record time. Fortunately there is an option to alter game speed.
The quality of Alternative's games has certainly improved recently and ROUND ONES will make a worthy addition to your collection.
I have one major gripe about the game, which features some really clever multi-coloured backgrounds. They look superb, but can act as an almost total camouflage for the fall. I feel the game would have been better with simple plain coloured backgrounds. Oh, and I must mention the awful music, it's painful to listen to.
Sound ........................... 7
Graphics ........................ 4
Playability ..................... 8
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 8
Rog Frost, ELECTRON USER 5.12