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Anthony Adam
1985
Arcade: Maze
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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37,38
Chris Bourne

Before you jump up and down in fits of excitement proclaiming that this game was reviewed months ago, in another Spectrum mag (which, for the sake of your health at least, you should not be reading) we should point out that the other mag is better known for being rash at the expense of accuracy. CRASH at least decided to wait until Artic had settled on a name for the game.

Paws is about a poor little cat called Selwyn who is being harassed by Bull Dog Billy and his gang of Bully dogs. Up until now, nasty old Billy has never managed to rid his patch of Selwyn because the cat and kittens were protected by catoplexic energy, a force generated by them as a whole. Well, imagine Selwyn's surprise when he returns home to find that the kittens have strayed.

'Oh this is awful', cries Selwyn, 'without the kittens we are no longer protected from the dogs and when they get to hear of this they will be after me again'. Well it goes without saying that Billy hears the news and barks an order to one of his lackies, 'Gruff ' , says he, 'round up the boys and we can get rid of those cats for ever'.

Your task is to guide Selwyn round the maze of city streets, the suburbs and refuse tips, collecting the kittens one by one and returning them to the haven. As you wander the lonely paths you are bound to come across the dogs. You can attack by firing fur balls at them, or even paralyse them for a while by depositing a noxious substance in their path. If you do get caught by a dog them a paw-paw fight will follow and that will cost you a great deal of energy. Your stamina, needed for the fur balls, and energy can be built up by eating different objects as you make you way around the maze, but the more you travel the maze the rarer the food becomes. With ten kittens to recover you face a race against time: soon the dogs will form a pack, and then watch the doggies get the moggies.

To help you with your task the game provides a map of the maze giving the locations of the kittens, the dogs, home and of course Selwyn. Underneath the main screen your score and high score are displayed, together with the levels of stamina, energy and the number of lives remaining. You lose a life when you run out of energy and if you are carrying a kitten you will lose that as well. The last figure on the screen gives the 'K9' level, this is a measure of pack formation and is, in effect, the time period in which you must collect the kittens. The five different skill settings simply give five different pack gathering rates.

CRITICISM

'It's no use pretending anything else, Artie wanted to call this game 'Cats' and base the scenario around the stage play. It used to have great music but even ignoring that it seems to have lost a lot more besides. It's a graphically pleasing, well animated, race-against-time maze game, and not a bad one at that.'

'A pretty straightforward idea this. The graphics are nice, detailed and colourful. The map adds a great deal to the game and the dogs are a constant menace. To win you really have got to get your skates on to collect all ten kittens before the dog pack forms. The food idea seems a little banal at first until you realise that by racing round the maze the supply runs a little thin. Good fun.'

'Paws has Sabre Wulf-like graphics, bright colourful and well detailed. Playing the game seems quite easy and doesn't pose any real challenge once you've mastered the different aspects of the game. With the useful map provided on screen at any time life isn't too difficult when it come to finding your way around the large maze. I like the idea of the maze taking place in different zones, which are indicated on the map by different colours. Quite novel really. Your weapons are different to say the least - you can zap the dogs that are after you, or lay them off your trail be depositing a pile of ... well, it's a pile of something or other! Quite an enjoyable game, but I think the effect of it will wear off after several hours of playing.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/A up/down, 0/P left/right, bottom row to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair and cursor
Keyboard play: fine
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: pleasingly detailed
Sound: a little garish
Skill levels: five
Lives: nine (of course)
Screens: over 150
General Rating: An attractive and mildly challenging game.

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Screenshot Text

Furball in mid-flight, Tibbles fights back in PAWS.

The map screen from PAWS, showing where you are, where you should be and the route you need - it's up to you to get there, past the marauding doggies.

Seeing off Fido, the action packed cat zooms down a High Street in PAWS.