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Monsters

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Released: 1982

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: BBC Micro

Publisher: Acornsoft

Developer: Acornsoft

Submitted by: Darran Jones

Once upon a time, before lawsuits and copyright infringement became common practice, if a good videogame came along, coders would simply copy it for themselves. Space Invaders, Donkey Kong, Pong, Asteroids and Pac-Man were just a few of the games that quickly began popping up on various home computers and consoles like the BBC and Atari 2600. While some of them were complete bobbins, others were very, very good indeed.

Acornsoft Games’ Monsters is a great example of the latter, and to this day it remains an excellent and challenging platformer that continually drags you back for ‘one more go.’ Essentially a rip-off of Universal’s Space Panic (quite possibly gaming’s first single-screen platformer) Monsters has you running up and down a series of ladders, while desperately trying to avoid the aliens that are constantly chasing you.

Amazingly, while you’re armed with a shovel that could probably do a hefty amount of damage to the alien’s bonces if you were to hit them with it, it’s actually used for a far more mundane purpose. Basically you dig holes, and it’s these newly formed pits that allow you to trap the alien menace. Once a xenophobe is captured, you need to quickly re-fill the hole and send him back to that great mothership in the sky. Take too long however, and the pesky little tyke will dig himself out, turn green and become even trickier to destroy. Oh, and did we mention that you’ve got to kill all your enemies before the timer runs out?

While Monsters looks like it’s been constructed from a set of Lego bricks, there’s no denying that it’s an incredibly faithful conversion of the original arcade game. Yes the main character lacks definition, and the constant sound of his running footsteps is enough to drive you insane, but if it’s straightforward fun that you’re after, then Monsters never disappoints. Now, if only we could see a brand new update of the original classic on Xbox Live Arcade.