Egghead In Space is a game for one player only and follows the style of a classic platform game. The scene is set (unsurprisingly) in space and you begin with little clue of what your objectives are as there is no discernable storyline apart from some suitably ridiculous blurb about some aliens being in Egghead's house in a previous installment of the game, where they stole his software collection. He has followed them to their planet where he must presumably retrieve his much-loved software from the grasp of these sticky fingered extra-terrestrials.
As I was unfamiliar with the previous Egghead games the only way I could find to get into this game was to explore and experiment. So I began my quest and the first thing I noticed is that the aliens are fairly easy to avoid, in fact a little too easy. There seemed to be no challenge in avoiding them. However, this is a little misleading when you begin playing and, after venturing into a few screens, you being to realise that the genius is in the level design. Although at first it seems tricky to manoeuvre around, it soon becomes child's play and it becomes second nature to romp about the screen at full tilt. Pixel accuracy is important in some situations, as is timing if you use the "hell-for-leather" approach which I favour mostly. There are however many places where haste is definitely better than speed. In many screens it can seem tricky at first to get from point A to point B, but there is always a logical solution. The main problem is not so much making the mistake while traversing platforms; it's if you find yourself ending up in a yolky mess on the floor below. Egghead can only fall a certain distance, so remember this when jumping over deep chasms willy-nilly. You will lose one life if you smash your ovum into the ground from a great height, or indeed if you find yourself in a stupour manage to walk into an alien nasty.
The graphics are pretty well defined, with very few attribute clashes, and they move smoothly. Aliens are obscure but cute, and the animation of Egghead is nice; I especially like his somersaults. The background scenery is also of a fairly high standard - it's space; so there is a lot of black, but there are enough sights to see on your travels. The level design as previously mentioned is great; it's neat and tidy and provides enough "how do I get across here?" moments. Sound is suitably Spectrum-esque. Sound effects are (arguably) as good as it's going to get: comprising of squelchy farts, beeps, etc. The other thing to take into consideration is the fact that there is no music at all, not even on the title screen. The Spectrum sound-chip has never been one of my favourites (understatement) and evaluating the quality of the Spectrum sound for me is pretty much down to whether there is actually a sound or not. Being slightly more serious: the sounds provided here are simply adequate. Neither mind blowing or ear shatteringly painful.
It would be unfair of me not to point of the obvious similarities between other platform games of this nature; Jet Set Willy et al, but thats not at all a bad thing if you liked those games. So to take into consideration the originality factor... well you'll not find any originality here. But it will be said many times that innovation is not always the key to something good. And this is pretty good.
Overall the presentation is slightly lacking and unfortunately doesnt reflect the quality of the game within. No title music and one hell of an atrocious "game over" sequence - the fact that there is no title music I can live with, but that game over routine is extremely tedious to say the least. I can only imagine Jonathan was struck by lighting or something when coding this routine. With a "enhanced" Cronosoft version available I sincerely hope the offending game over tedium is removed. Apart from the ridiculously easy to avoid aliens, really the only downside with this game is that there is not real intuitiveness about the order in which things have to be collected. I mean you'll get there in the end as there are only so many permutations and you'll have fun doing it.