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Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

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Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

THE ROBOTS are back in the latest game from Ultimate, creators of Sabre Wulf and Knight Lore. After four arcade adventures on fantasy themes, the wizards of hi-res graphics are plundering space again.

Alien 8 puts you in charge of a large spaceship carrying deep-frozen space- men - 'cryonauts' - to a new planet. But alien life forces penetrate the ship and threaten to de-activate the refrigeration chambers. You, as the robot, must find the thermolec valve for each chamber to re-activate it.

Alien 8 is as close a copy of the very popular Knight Lore as a program can be. It uses exactly the same 'filmation' technique to show a 3D chamber in astounding definition, full of traps and objects to test and puzzles to solve.

Your character can push some of the objects around, using them as platforms, and the 3D animation extends to your character disappearing behind obstacles.

Where the game improves upon Knight Lore is in the plot and problems. In the earlier game objects had to be taken to a central room, whereas now you must ferry them to 24 different crychambers to win. That extends the number of potential solutions enormously. The individual problems are much more tightly constructed and offer greater variety. In some rooms you must shift blocks around extensively to construct an appropriate stairway; in others the solution is apparently impossible unless you experiment, whereupon a key move may send blocks sliding or even vanishing to reveal your goal.

The general quality of the graphics is slightly higher, although using an apparently identical system to Knight Lore. The character moves a little quicker as well. Fans of the earlier game will need no urging to rush out and buy it. Those who have neither game should buy Alien 8 now, and find out what the fuss is all about.

Chris Bourne

Memory: 48K
Price: £9.95
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Sinclair