Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Repton (computer game)
Repton is a computer game originally developed by Tim Tyler for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron and released by Superior Software in the 1980s. The eponymous protagonist, Repton, is a lizard who crawls around in an underground maze in a quest to find all the diamonds, avoiding being trapped or killed by falling rocks. The game features monsters that hatch from eggs, and safes that are opened when you find the key. The original Repton game had 12 levels, with passwords making it possible to jump directly to the later ones.
The sequel to the game, Repton 2, was much bigger. It introduced new elements, such as skulls that were fatal if walked into, spirits that flew along walls and into cages—turning them into diamonds—, transporters that moved Repton to another place in the map, and jigsaw puzzle pieces to collect. The entire game was in effect one very large level without passwords, so it had to be completed in one go. This sets Repton 2 apart from all the other Repton games.
Repton 2 and Repton were subsequently ported to a number of other 8bit computers including the ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. Modern versions for Microsoft Windows and Nokia Series 60 mobile phones are available from Superior Interactive and Masabi respectively.
Repton 3 was developed by Matthew Atkinson at Superior's invitation since Tim Tyler wasn't interested in programming it—although he did design some of the levels for the new game—and it reverted to the form of a series of password-protected levels. A few new elements were introduced, including fungus—a substance that spreads wherever it finds space and kills Repton if it spreads over him—and a time-bomb which must be defused to complete each level. Repton 3 included a map editor along with the game, so that it became possible to create data files with alternate maps and new graphics for the levels. Three themed sets of such files were released as expansions for Repton 3, with the titles Around the World in 40 Screens, The Life of Repton and Repton Thru Time.
Repton Infinity was released in 1988, by which time the BBC Micro's popularity as a games platform was beginning to wane. It supplemented the map editor and graphics editor with a powerful game logic editor which made it possible to alter the way all game objects behaved using a purpose-designed language called Reptol. Four different example games were included to demonstrate its flexibility:
- Repton 3–Take 2, with a couple of small technical differences in gameplay from Repton 3;
- Repton 4, with imaginative new objects including photocopiers and moving jewels;
- Robbo, “a crazy robot in a strange topsy-turvy world”, according to the game inlay; and
- Trakka, a chaotic game in which a bulldozer-driving protagonist must destroy various monsters by pushing fruit at them, and all scores are multiples of 17.
The Scott Joplin piano rag The Chrysanthemum was used as the music for Repton 2.
Today Superior Software are still around and (as of 2004) are re-releasing versions of the game for modern PCs. Other individuals and companies are also developer their own versions: such as the version for wireless devices (from Masabi), and 3D enhanced multimedia version such as Repton Returns.
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