Ant Attack is a ZX Spectrum computer game by Sandy White, published by Quicksilva in 1983. It was converted to the Commodore 64 in 1984.

Ant Attack
Ant Attack cassette cover art
Cover art by David John Rowe[2]
Developer(s)Sandy White
EngineSoftsolid 3D[3]
Platform(s)ZX Spectrum
Commodore 64
1984 (Commodore 64)

While Zaxxon and Q*bert previously used isometric projection, Ant Attack added an extra degree of freedom (ability to go up and down instead of just north, south, east and west), and it may be the first isometric game for personal computers.[4] The same type of isometric projection was used in Sandy White's later Zombie Zombie. It was also one of the first games to allow players to choose their gender.[5][3]

Gameplay edit

ZX Spectrum in-game screenshot

The player chooses whether to control the character of "Girl" or "Boy",[6] who then enters the walled city of Antescher to rescue the other,[7] who has been captured and immobilised somewhere in the city.

The city is inhabited by giant ants which chase and attempt to bite the player. The player can defend themselves by throwing grenades at the ants, but these can also harm the humans. Once the hostage is rescued, the two must escape the city. The game then starts again with the hostage located in a different, harder-to-reach part of the city.

Development edit

Almost all of the game code was written by hand on paper using assembler mnemonics, then manually assembled,[4] with the resulting hexadecimal digits typed sequentially into an external EEPROM emulator device (aka SoftROM[8] or "softie") attached to a host Spectrum.[9] Similarly, the character graphics and other custom sprites were all hand-drawn on squared paper and manually converted to strings of hex data. Additionally, some minor add-on routines such as high score registration were added on to the core game using regular Sinclair BASIC.[10]

The game's setting of "Antescher" is a reference to the artist M. C. Escher.[3]

Reception edit

Ant Attack was well received by gaming press. The game was nominated in the 1983 Golden Joystick Awards for Best Original Game of the Year, eventually coming second to Ah Diddums.[13] The ZX Spectrum version was rated number 14 in the Your Sinclair's Official Top 100 Games of All Time.[14]

In 2009, the staff of Edge wrote that it "marked the very beginnings of the survival horror genre".[15][5]

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Awesome Ants Leap to the Attack!". Computer and Video Games. No. 26 (December 1983). 16 November 1983. pp. 31, 33.
  2. ^ "On the Cover". Crash. No. 15. April 1985. p. 130. Retrieved 2023-12-18.
  3. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame: Ant Attack". ACE. No. 38. Future Publishing. November 1990. p. 111. Retrieved 22 September 2022.
  4. ^ a b Sandy White. "Sandy White - an Ant Attack homepage". Archived from the original on 6 April 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-28.
  5. ^ a b Whitehead, Dan (Mar 8, 2013). "Code Britannia: Sandy White".
  6. ^ "CRASH 1 - 3D Ant Attack".
  7. ^ Wilkins, Chris (Oct 10, 2007). "Ant Attack".
  8. ^ "SoftROM mini feature, Issue 2, March 1984". Your Sinclair online archive.
  9. ^ "Video interview with Sandy White". Youtube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Comments guestbook with owner's replies, page one". Sandy White personal homepage. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  11. ^ "Soft Solid 3D Ant Attack". Crash. No. 1. February 1984. pp. 16, 18.
  12. ^ Cooke, Steve (February 1984). "Screen Test". Personal Computer Games. No. 3. p. 51.
  13. ^ "The Golden Joystick Award", C&VG, Issue 29.
  14. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993.
  15. ^ Edge staff (2009-07-31). "The Making Of: Ant Attack". Edge. Archived from the original on 2012-05-15. Retrieved 2009-12-08.

External links edit