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AT 5,30; "HAIKU"
BEEPER ABUSE: 3
CRAP FACTOR: 3
Mrs P and I once spent the night in Stansted Airport waiting for an early flight to La Rochelle. That night, in addition to sleeping rough on the airport floor, we also spent hours (and most of our remaining £££s) on a battered old House of the Dead 2 arcade machine.
Since then we've played all the arcade games, as well as Overkill on the Wii, and I'd always assumed we could possibly be classed as 'fans' of the series.
Imagine my disappointment, then, when catmeows sends this over and says it's based on The Typing of the Dead - a spelling-based keyboard-equipped modification of our favourite zombie-blasting game that I'd never even heard of!
Unlike its inspiration; Haiku doesn't involve any zombies, however, it does involve typing the words or phrases* you see on-screen. Surprisingly this is both challenging, addictive and - dare I say - enjoyable.
* Incredibly and embarrassingly, in equal amounts, catmeows had to explain the gameplay mechanic to me - initially I genuinely didn't realise what I was supposed to be doing!
The game begins with three sets of words at the top of the screen which immediately begin to fall. If any of them reach the bottom of the screen then the game is over.
Type correctly and the matched word will flash and disappear (albeit only to be replaced by another.) This is accompanied by some neat sound and BORDER effects courtesy of the OUT command.
Type incorrectly and, thanks to some very nifty coding, it'll just cost you time because as long as the word appears somewhere in the text you re-type it'll count - very handy for the fat fingered ZX gamer!
Inevitably - thanks to time, gravity, keyboard unresponsiveness, distractions or otherwise poor gaming-skill - the words will hit the bottom of the screen and present you with a summary of your performance.
"Strokes" is how many letters you typed, in total. "Poetry letters" is how many of the characters you typed actually counted.
At this point you're also treated to some more BORDER flashing and a musical interlude that is somewhat reminiscent of a train station announcement being read by a painfully flatulent R2D2.
The High Score Challenge™ starts at 107 so, in the immortal words of Vic and Bob, "I really wanna see those fingers!"
catmeows also made the interesting claim that this should work on any Spectrum, including the "Spectrum TwoThousand" - a hypothetical future Spectrum model and a joke that went right over my head.
In the spirit of exploration I tested it on every Speccy-model in Fuse and, indeed, they all looked and sounded much the same! The only exception was the Spectrum SE which had a very different font and a black background which, unfortunately, rendered the game unplayable due to some INK=PAPER colour combos.