My dictionary tells me that "Syncytium" means "a multi-nucleated cell"; an appropriate enough name, I thought, for a compilation package comprising eighteen main programs with several other related bits and pieces. Value for money is the name of the game here, and there should be something for everyone. Some of the programs were written by me in Basic, others in GamesMaster, and two in machine code. The rest were written by Ian, and although some were originally written for the Spectrum they have now been converted to use Sam's features.
Although you may have seen some of the programs before, they have all been updated in some way since then, and there are ten entirely new releases; in any case, some of the previously released items are a little obscure. On booting the disk, you are greeted with a machine code menu boasting music by Roger Hartley; from here you can quickly and easily load any of the eighteen games and utilities.
Syncytium is available for download from worldofsam.org
Sensible demoOne of the first machine code programs I ever wrote - included here mainly for nostalgia. Also available from Fred, Prime, and ILLUSION PD.
A playable Gamesmaster game based on the two popular puzzle games, Pipemania and Tetris. Pieces of pipe float from the top of the screen; move them left and right or twist them round to form the longest chain you can before the time runs out and the liquid flows. You can call bombs to blow up any pieces you put in the wrong place, but beware of losing your bonus. Later on watch out for one way pipe sections (which you can't twist... that would be too easy!) and bonus squares. Controls are redefinable and there is more excellent music by Roger Hartley.
On The Tiles
This is a match-the-tiles puzzle game, but the difference between this and any other game you might have seen is that your cursor is solid, cannot move through the walls, is subject to conveyor belts, and can only move a tile by passing over it - pushing the tile in the opposite direction... There are thirty levels, with passwords every ten.
CitadelsA conversion of the projectile-throwing game, boasting high-res graphics, mouse control and even more music by Roger Hartley.
OthelloConversion of the board game, in which you play versus the computer. With high resolution 3D graphics and mouse control.
Connect 4Conversion of the popular strategy game in which you play versus the computer. With music by Lee Willis.
Atoms is a two player strategy game, which is much easier to play than explain, so in the limited space I have here, I won't bother trying. However, if you have Fred 45 then you'll know what to do; there are a few added features though, like the music that plays during the game (sound effects can be toggled with the music through a hidden icon at the top left)
Tape LabellerTape Labeller is a powerful program which will let you neaten out your piles of scruffy, hand-written audio tape labels (but only if you've got a printer)
StereogramLets you see into the wonderful world of the abstract stereo picture - if you've got a printer available. There is a variety of pre-set patterns available, or you can load in any screen from Flash or SamPaint (including SamPaint's compressed screens.)
PlayThis program actually adds a command to Sam Basic, which will play music like the command on 128K spectrums. You can play six chanels though the sound chip or eight through Midi (simultaneously) with Full Midi chanell output control. You can transfer most Spectrum PLAY programs to the Sam: if you have tried this then you will know that the MGT Basic translator changed a PLAY command into BRIGHT; Sam's PLAY will accept this as a valid statement, and even change the word BRIGHT to PLAY in your program! Included with this is a music database system to which you can add your own music programs, with full search facilities and ability to view details about composer, origin etc from data statements in each routine. Already installed in this is over an hour and a half of demonstration music in various styles.
LifeThis is probably the fastest ever Z80 version of John Conway's classic display of cell birth and death. There are two screen resolutions available, randomize, clear and edit functions, with a facility to save or load patterns to memory or in blocks to disk. A sample block is included with some well known patterns, and also some which are more obscure.
FSEThe Full Screen Editor is a fully functional standard format text editor system based on X-edit for the unix workstation. Although it was originally written for the spectrum, it makes full use of the Sam's disk drive for file storage. This powerful system can treat your text in lines or paragraphs using hard returns rather than forcing line length to fit 64 characters. Your text can even be converted into a Spectrum BASIC program and run, or your library of Spectrum Basic programs can be loaded, converted, and stored as text on Sam disk. A program is included to convert Standard format text files to Outwrite's 64 column format. No reverse is necessary since the FSE can accept and reformat Outwrite files.
AsteroidsOriginally released for the spectrum in the pages of Your Computer magazine, this game was described as being "as close to the arcades as you can get."
TerrapinThis is also an arcade conversion, in which you must rescue baby terrapins and take them home.
PanicThis platform-and-ladders sees you catching aliens by digging holes in the floor, waiting for an alien to fall in, and filling the hole in around it.
MexA conversion of Mex on the Sun workstation, which is in principle similar to Tetris but with added depth and difficulty as extra blocks and lines appear to hinder your progress in later levels.
The final two programs on this packed disk are the Rockfall duo of games. They appeared on Crash magazine's Powertape, but reader response was so good we decided that they warranted a second airing. The first game is a straight conversion from the Spectrum, but the second makes use of the Sam's sound chip for improved effects and music. In the game you must collect jewels from a series of scrolling underground caverns whilst avoiding rocks, bombs and aliens. Sounds familiar? See for yourself; there are 48 levels in all.