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The Archaeologist

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Released: 1985

Genre: Adventure

Format reviewed: ZX Spectrum

Publisher: Spectrum Computing

Developer: Sneesby Software

Submitted by: Lee Tatlock

Another ZX Speccy platform game in the mould of Jet Set Willy, however this time there is obviously an archaeological adventure theme. Your aim is quite a novel one, you must head down into a volcano through the core of the earth and emerge out of mount Etna at the other side of the world, cool. However no matter how novel the concept may be you’re ultimately playing a Jet Set Willy Clone, which is absolutely fine with me, but others may yawn and instantly forget this ever existed, which would be a shame as some are real creative impressions in an accessible interactive, albeit quite basic, form. So is The Archaeologist one such creative gem or is it a true crusty old fossil of little value, like one of those ten a penny trilobite efforts you get in the natural history museum giftshop? Well as far as gameplay goes it’s overly tough, and at times a downright nightmare to traverse, the levels are tricky and aggravating at worse and a bit fiddly at best. However one point where The Archaeologist shines is in the ideas department.

The locations, creatures and platforms are all drawn with care and are varied and numerous. Monkeys, spinning skulls, ghosts, bugs, swans and even gorgons are thrown at you sporadically throughout your adventure. All are animated with care and the blocks that make up the platforms fit well into their themed rooms.

Overall it’s a typical romp that’s too hard for it’s own good, Mr. Sneesby, the creator would have been better spending time making the levels more accessible so we could see all his little adventure has to offer. Instead you’ll probably play it a few times, study the map, then forget about it till a few years down the line and wonder if you ever played it at all where the whole process will begin again, add infinitum. Yawn.