Beep, bip, beeep, biddle biddle, bip......ahh, that sound brings back memories. Wait, what? There's a new game with the name "Horace" as in Horace Goes Skiing and Hungry Horace? Oh, those were the days. Let me fire it up quick, I need a nostalgia hit from those early days playing on my friends Spectrum with those lovely rubber keys. I wanted some authenticity, but only had an emulator. Luckily most emulators now have real-time loading and I wanted to see if this game had a loading screen. It did and a pretty good representation (if you image search online, you'll see something very similar with just a little more jaggedness) and the drawing of the 'Mining Shaft' to Horace's right, so I see the association.
So, Horace Miner loads up and I'm glad that I'm not epileptic! I would have liked the option to mute the sound on the title music, that being said, probably the whole game. The title beep was a little annoying, I've seen other spectrum games do that, but it stops after so long, including the flashing text. So I hit the "mute" option on the emulator.
MINE, ALL MINE
When the game starts, I see a few things, L3, AIR, Score and Hi. Ok, so far so good. Then I start moving around and wonder why I'm losing air? I've watched various TV docudramas about miners and, apart from the scare stories, most of these guys just went down the mine shaft, did a bit of digging and came back up dirty. I don't remember any of them going down there with oxygen masks on! I don't know, maybe air could have been replaced with "dirtiness" or something. So, taking that on board, if you are losing air, but collecting money, is there no way of buying more air, or at least having "air pockets" around, to replenish your air, or air bubbles, to increase your air in small chunks?
I didn't find it too challenging to be honest and I only died a couple of times before seeing the patterns in the enemy movement, so after that I just anticipated them, got to level 2, then level 3, got bored... Okay, so it probably looks like I'm ripping it to bits but all that being said I couldn't do as well with Z80 (give me a 6502 and I'll have a go) and Horace Miner was at least free. Maybe playing by taking turns against a friend after a few drinks would make this game into a bit of a giggle, but I would have been disappointed if I'd bought it even if it had been for 99p. Perhaps there will be changes in the sequel?