Tag: tv tie-in

Protect and Survive: Threads: The Computer Game

Right, let’s get this over and done with. These games are starting to get on my tits now, I mean, we’re well into 2016 and the competition should have closed already.

Oh, hello readers. Didn’t see you there, due to the nuclear fallout damaging my eyesight and/or giving me six arms or whatever, but it’s OK as hiding under the table with a tin of beans has largely helped me get out of the bombing unscathed.

This screen loads in two code blocks and stays up for precisely less than the amount of time you need to read it (unless you're loading at Actual Speed, you weirdo).

This screen loads in two code blocks and stays up for precisely less than the amount of time you need to read it (unless you’re loading at Actual Speed, you weirdo).

Yes: this is Protect and Survive: Threads: The Computer Game, which I’m going to call Protect and Survive, Threads or PAS:T:TCG interchangeably at will.

It’s GReW‘s latest effort, and it’s based on the Threads TV show from the 80s. I don’t think I ever saw Threads, however it was repeated on BBC4 some years back and I taped it, and then didn’t bother to watch it. It’s probably in the loft now. I’m not sure it matters, the basic gist of the game is there’s a nuclear war on, and you’ve hidden in the cupboard under the stairs with – apparently – a bed, a cooker, the world’s biggest bottle of water and a latrine (as GrEw politely calls it).

My beautiful house.

My beautiful house.

There doesn’t appear to be any food, and I couldn’t get the cooker to do much – probably because the nuclear blast has cut off both the electricity and gas. I could, however, use the lavatory at my pleasure, wipe my arse as much as I liked, and go to sleep. Well, I could go to sleep once, and then the game would insist I wasn’t tired. Oh, there’s also a door, but you can’t go out that way.

My beautiful house. *sob* Excuse me, I've got a bit of radioactive isotope in my eye...

My beautiful house. *sob* Excuse me, I’ve got a bit of radioactive isotope in my eye…

It’s all rendered in 3D Speccyvision (aka Freescape), Total Eclipse-style, and just like Total Eclipse I don’t really know what I’m supposed to be doing, don’t know how to do it and am probably going to get very old before I walk all the way over to the only object I can see at less than one frame a second.

I’m being unkind, the 3D works very well and is quick. It’s a little too technically competent for the CGC (although appears to be created with 3D Construction Kit, so not that technically competent), but thankfully gREW doesn’t appear to have put any gameplay in, so that’s OK.

Even in the Nuclear Winter, there's no excuse for poor hygiene.

Even in the Nuclear Winter, there’s no excuse for poor hygiene.

As far as I can tell, you can either wait until you get radiation poisoning and die, or you can wait until your health deteriorates so much that you die. I drank all the water, cranked the emulator up to max and took the former way out. (You can also unplug the Speccy, which is quicker. Ed)

Of course the irony is that you wouldn’t be able to play this whilst waiting for the bombs to fall, as it takes precisely one-and-a-half minutes longer to load than the four minute warning allows.

I advise playing this directly after Gardener of Doom, for the full apocalyptic experience. Actually I don’t advise that at all, I think that’s the radiation sickness talking.

Score: One tin of SPAM out of an arbitrary amount of tins of corned beef.
Download: .tzx

Strictly Come Dancing – The Game

And we’re off! First out of the starter’s block is Colin Woodcock, a veteran of the Spectrum scene – he’s even written a book called The ZX Spectrum On Your PC. With credentials like that I have high hopes for this game.

In Colin’s own words, “Enjoy the glamour and sparkle of ballroom dancing in this stunningly realistic strategy adaptation of BBC1’s hit TV show.” Well, at the time of writing it’s a Saturday evening, so it only seems right to play it now given that I’ve had the bloody thing rammed down my throat every Saturday evening for four months of every year since 2006.

What really astounded me was how quickly Colin managed to get the game across to me after I’d announced the competition open – only 14 minutes! If he carries on producing games at the rate of one every 14 minutes he’ll have written over 30,000 crap games before the end of the year, and if I carry on writing reviews at the rate of one every day the CSSCGC2015 will officially finish some time in 2097. I’ll be 122 years old by then, the same age as the oldest person who ever lived, so perhaps I’ve finally found my raison d’etre (Isn’t that a French biscuit with fruit in it? Ed.)

Anyway. a good start, what a fantastic loading screen this is! You can really tell Colin’s spent a long time eliminating the colour clash, rather than just bunging the first image he could find through ZX-Paintbrush or something:



There follows a BEEPy rendition of the theme tune, which loses crap points for sounding far too much like the original, but gains points for repeating just enough times to become annoying. Also, pressing a key has no effect whatsoever other than eliminating the pauses and speeding the tune up just a bit.

Then we come to the game. No instructions, just straight into Week One. American smooth, apparently. Sounds more like a cup of coffee than a dance. Perhaps I can dunk my raison d’etre into it. I only know two dances – the “six pint shuffle” and the “embarrass your kids in front of their friends dance”. Oh, and there’s that annoying beepy tune again. Four bloody times. Again.

Finally, the strategy element of the game kicks in. With 40 hours to practice, and with that tune still ringing in my ears, I had no idea how to split my time – so I just punched numbers into the keyboard at random, imagining that each key I punched was Colin’s head. But how did I do on my first go?


Despite a “se-vennnn!” from Darcey – or maybe because I was given one by Craig (f’nar) – I got voted into the dance-off and unceremoniously dumped out of the competition, putting me in such esteemed company as Edwina “I boffed John Major” Currie, Goldie (the jungle producer, not the Blue Peter dog – she came second that year, despite having died in 1992) and rent-a-Cockney-geezer off of Quadrophenia or Parklife (depending on your age) Phil Daniels (not to be confused with Paul “Not a lot!” Daniels – even he managed the second round!)

So is it possible to win the competition? Do we get to see a pixellated Kara Tointon or Rachel Stevens wearing not very much as a reward? Download here and find out…

As for the scores… I give this game se-vennnn!