COMPETITION ENTRY #28: HARD AS NAILZ
"After many years, I've finally cobbled together a game for the CSSCGC. I present for your delectation, the mercifully short Hard as Nailz. The first game from Sloanysoft's new budget label, Phoneysoft."
- Dave Sloan
Our author joined Spectrum Computing eleven days ago, following the release of his first ever game, Manic Mulholland - a simple platformer based on something that happened to one of his friends in days of yore. Of course, why spend hundreds of hours puzzling over Toni Baker's Mastering Machine Code on your ZX Spectrum when AGD has done all the hard work for you? It's a common route these days, especially as it has so many variants now, and although I've never tried it, intuition tells me it must be as easy as Manic Mulholland itself. Manic Miner this isn't - I have trouble getting out of the Central Cavern even now, whereas I saw seven of Manic Mulholland's nine screens at the first attempt.
With that out of the way, I suspect it took Dave barely half an hour to write Hard as Nailz. Load MPAGD, build its title screen, build its control menu - yes, a control menu! - and then the actual content of the game. And there really isn't a lot of that...
First of all, pick your controlz - I wrote it that way because you'll be prezented with a choize of "Keyz" (O/P left and right, M to jump, H to pauze), "Kempzton" (in Bedfordzhire), "Zinclair" (Zir Clive declined to comment) and "Redefine Keyz". Whatever you chooze (...all right, I'll stop that now) will not actually help you proceed. You control Jimmy Nailz, who looks like a clinically depressed bag of assorted tools, and you must help him survive as long as possible. Once the game starts, Jimmy's life expectancy will be a few seconds at most. Nominally, at least, you need to avoid the walking hammers, crates of "No More Nailz", and whatever those static things are on the floor, all of which are instantly lethal on contact, and Jimmy is a one-hit-point wonder. "Oh bad luck, you're dead." Do it, do it, do it again, do it again and again and the result will inevitably be the same.
If anything sums up how meagre your chances are, you score points in this game by moving. Don't get too carried away, though - the six-digit scoreboard is even more optimistic than the odometer on a G-Wiz, and the highest score I could manage was 64. Jump right, jump left, jump left through to the other side of the screen, die, and even that isn't guaranteed to break 50. The magenta blocks that make up most of the screen are impassable - don't let those get in the way of your jump or you'll score 40-something at most. This isn't all down to my general ham-fistedness with platformers - there isn't any room to avoid the nasties or time your jumps perfectly. They will hit you. I might even consider an extra competition - if anyone can manage to crack three figures, I'll make it worth 75p and half a packet of Rolos, at least.
The CSSCGC isn't bereft of AGD entries - we've had one earlier this year that at least had more than one screen to see, so that's the baseline for my judgement. On the grounds that Battle From Below was a genuine game with multiple screens and this is merely a game in the loosest sense of the word, I can only assess it as a bare-bones two-and-two; there are no extra embellishments, no loading screen or anything like that, and this doesn't enter a Challenge. The stencil font is a welcome addition, though I've seen it so many times I suspect it's part of the AGD package.
If this entry does anything for me, it might encourage me to investigate AGD a bit more, just to find out what's in it. Just don't tell Distracted Boyfriend's other half.