Bumpers

Bumpers is an interesting maze game featuring invisible walls. As you start the game, either from the top left or bottom right of the screen, and try to make your way to the diagonal corner before your opponent makes it to your corner, you bump into walls. You don't get to see them, however, until you've collided. Once they are visible, they stay visible until the end of the game.

I played the computer each time. My representative was a smiling green face. The computer was dealt a red death's head image. The game is played with joysticks, and you maneuver through the maze until you run into a wall. Mark Data has incorporated some features that make the game surprising. At the beginning of each game, the randomly generated maze hides three booby-trapped walls. If you or your opponent hit these walls, you are sent back to the beginning. There is another feature that lets you booby-trap a wall using your joystick. Make sure you remember which walls you have rigged; you are allowed three traps.

One other item makes the game especially fun. If you and your opponent cross paths, hit your joystick firing button and you'll send your opponent winging off to some other location in the maze. This is a good ploy if you happen to be near your base and your opponent is coming on strong.

Bumpers starts off with a menu-driven introduction that asks for the number of opponents, the dimensions of the maze, set from 1 by 1 blocks to 13 by 15. Then it asks for a skill level from one to four, four being the hardest. This determines how hard the computer will play against you.

Setting the maze at 1,1 creates a wide open space so your only hope is to outrun or zap your opponent. I found the full 13 by 15 maze to be the most fun, and a skill level of two or three to be the least frustrating. The graphics animation is good, fairly fast and doesn't suffer from refresh blinking or wriggling. The joystick handles very nicely, making maneuverability quite easy.

Using strategy, the game can be enjoyed by adults but children would probably get the most enjoyment from the mazes.

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