SID The Spellbinder!

SID The Spellbinder!The Game: What happens when the Dreaded Dratapillar Of Venus makes a guest appearance? It means that a spelling bee is imminent! A friendly voice warns you to look out for a “monster attack,” and after dispatching all of the segments of the worm-like invader, you’re asked to correctly spell three words using the Odyssey2 keyboard. Once you’ve correctly spelled those three words, another monster attack occurs, with the Dratapillar moving faster in each successive level; the game continues until it descends far enough down the screen to reach your cannon. (North American Philips, 1982)

See the videoMemories: Programmed by Sam Overton, SID The Spellbinder! was one of the first two – and, as it so happened, only two – educational launch titles made available specifically for the then-new Voice Of Odyssey speech synthesizer. Though launched aside Nimble Numbers NED!, SID is the SID The Spellbinder!better game by light-years, combining a simple, no-frills (but alarmingly fast-moving in later stages) arcade-style shooter with a no-nonsense spelling quick. It’s actually quite engaging – I intended to spend a few minutes with it so I could grab screen shots, but I wound up getting sucked into a half-hour session that ended in the inevitable (see shot of giant Dratapillar head eating my score).

And what’s up with the Dratapillar, by the way? It’s almost as if there was a conscious attempt to tie in all of the Voice launch games in some way. (For those who don’t remember, the SID The Spellbinder!Dreaded Dratapillar Of Venus made its first appearance chasing K.C. Munchkin in the first Voice game, K.C.’s Krazy Chase!.)

4 quartersOverall, SID The Spellbinder! is one of the better educational titles for the Odyssey2, even if it does require the Voice to be played at all.