Skool Daze

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This is a game on a theme of horror and despair, a game populated by wandering monsters, a game where no-one cal really be trusted, and everyone is a potential enemy.

Through this alien landscape of paranoia and imminent catastrophe you must make your way, your single goal, to wrench victory from the jaws of universal defeat.

For this is the strange world of Skool Daze, where even in the eye of God you are a mere pupil.

Microsphere master programmber David Reidie has it off to a T. The claustrophobia and creeping terror of the education system are laid bare for all to see.

We start with a normal day somewhere near the end of term. The Head (Mr. Whacker, who bears a close resemblance to Mr. T) has closeted in his safe a fearful indictment of your year’s performance, your School Report. There is only one way out. You must open that safe. Each of the teachers possesses one letter of the safe code and they’ll only reveal it if they are first disoriented and then knocked down.

The first is easy, you simply use you trusty catapult, Beakslayer, but for the second you have to set all the school trophy shields flashing, by hitting them. This is done by either bouncing a pellet of the balding pate of one of the monstrous masters, or by clobbering one of the other boys ad clibing on his back (real Nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw stuff!).

But beware, ‘cos just as in real life, you’ll get lines to do if caught doing anything out of order, and there are a lot of things you can do wrong, from missing class to jumping in the corridors, and the school sneak is always ready to squeal on you. 10,000 lines and you’re sent home.

So much for the tortuous plot. It’s the brilliantly realised graphics that make School Daze such a treat to play. The school building is good as you scroll through its boxy structure, but it’s the characters that really stand out. You can insert your own names for all the main characters, from Angelfac the school bully to Mr. Creak the History Master. Somehow Microsphere have inserted real individuality into what are very spare cartoon miniatures. They all have a life of their own, and even as you sit through another dreary geography lesson with Mr. Withit, the swinging Geoography teacher, things are going on around you in the other class-rooms and corridors.

The teacher characters are capable of a wide range of animation, from falling over to gesturing and writing on the blackboard.

The only flaw, if it is one, is that the game is so fascinationg to watch, I found it hard to play seriously, and ended up mischievously knocking over the teachers and wellying the school bully at regular intervals.

An achievement in social realism and fun to play too.




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