Mobile gaming developers Masabi paid us a visit at ECTS this morning to demonstrate their handheld versions of the BBC Micro classic Repton, and we're happy to report that it looks just like the real thing. In fact, as it uses the more colourful sprites from the old Archimedes port, it actually looks even better than the real thing. For those of you who came along too late to enjoy the original game, or were unfortunate enough never to own a BBC Micro, Repton is the lizard-like lead character from a series of puzzle games which involved guiding him around various mazes collecting diamonds, shoving rocks around and gobbling up dirt. The basic gameplay is incredibly simple, but some of the levels will have you scratching your head as you work out how to move the rocks around to avoid trapping yourself or blocking off a valuable item, while avoiding ghost-like sprites and eggs that crack open to release monsters. All of this has been faithfully recreated in handheld form by Masabi, and the PDA version in particular (which was running on a Compaq iPaq PocketPC) had sharp colourful graphics. Originally the plan was to release a basic version of the game and then sell additional levels and graphics sets from the series, but apparently the billing structure needed for this isn't in place yet, and isn't likely to be until towards the end of this year at the earliest. Rather than wait for technology to catch up with them then, Masabi have decided to release the original Repton 1 on PDAs and Java-enabled mobile phones within the next few weeks, with additional goodies to follow once more people have handsets capable of running the games and the mobile phone operators have sorted out their billing system. The impressive looking PDA version will probably set you back about £10, while the mobile version (shown to us on a Nokia 7650) will be going for somewhere in the region of £7. Both should feature bonus graphics and tutorial levels. Looking further ahead, Masabi raised the possibility of multiplayer Repton, which would work a bit like the ghost car option in Mario Kart. Played between two PDA owners using Bluetooth, the game would show your rival's score at the bottom of the screen and a little ghost Repton would be visible darting around the map, showing your opponent's progress as the pair of you race to finish first and score the most points. It's certainly an intriguing idea, although having seen one of Masabi's designers rushing through an entire level in a matter of seconds, we're a little daunted at the prospect of taking him on head-to-head. I guess it's time to dust off the old Beeb and get some practice in... Related Feature - Repton Thru Time
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