Horace and the Spiders
Platform: ZX Spectrum 16K
Release Date: 1983
Publisher: Sinclair Research Ltd (UK)
Developer: Psion Software Ltd (William Tang)
The ZX Spectrum, I’ve played on the actual machine probably about a dozen times, and over twenty years ago (mostly Dizzy). After asking which games I should review next I was pleasantly surprised about the number of different platforms, games and genres people wanted to see again. A request for Horace made it past the line first so I immediately set about trying to find the game! Fortunately, this is a well-known, and therefore widely available ’emulated’ game but I was unable to play it on the original system.
Horace and the Spiders is the 3rd game in the Horace series, following Hungry Horace and Horace goes Skiing. The last in the series was Horace to the Rescue. The plot is pretty simple (although some reviews back in the day penned it as complicated) Horace must negotiate his way through 3 treacherous levels. The first, up some hills whilst avoiding spiders. The second, swinging across a chasm on spider threads. The third and final show down, a platform level where Horace must defeat the remaining arachnids by creating holes in the web, luring the spiders into the holes to fix them and consequently jumping on them.
The game is very simple to finish, the graphics are neat and the game play isn’t actually bad, considering the length. Each level has its own distinct colours and design (Horace even changes colour) and challenges. The characters are clear and animated well, and even though I have no idea who or what Horace is, its a great leading character.
It’s extrememly satisfying outwitting the spiders on the final level and jumping up and down on them. After playing for about 15 minutes though my attention drifted, so I decided to give the other Horace games a go. They are all pretty distinct in graphics and gameplay which makes this a fun series of games to play, I actually found Horace Goes Skiing really challenging (who puts a ski shop on the other side of the motorway) but fun once I actually got to do some skiing.
Reading some of the reviews its fascinating to see how good reviewers said it was, and they were right, at that time of course. Not that great in my opinion (watch out for the collision detection jumping over those spiders) and not the best in the Horace series (Horace goes Skiing ftw) but Horace and the Spiders was clearly a welcome addition to the series, it was fun to visit and to play.
Please visit My Speccy for more information on the Horace games and on the Spectrum, as well as a chance to play the game!
For more information on Horace and the Spiders visit the World of Spectrum
Horace Series advert (Popular Computing Weekly, Issue 830915, p.29) and Horace and the Spiders advert (Home Computing Weekly, Issue 20, p.41 from World of Spectrum