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Mastertronic Ltd
1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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44
Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

A superior bit of sci-fi stuff, this, though the scenario's as old as Bruce Forsyth's wig; you are the lone remaining pilot of the Earth's defence force, left to fend off the attacks of the hideous slimy aliens (well, I assume they're slimy, you don't actually get to see them). This one's a diagonal scroller, and the monochrome graphics roll along pleasingly smoothly.

You get to control the height and left-right movement of your ship; as you get higher, you speed up. Perspective is well done, and the alien ships have realistic shadows which make it easier for you to line up your shots. They attack in waves which appear on your radar scanner, and are announced on your handy-dandy message screen. Each stage of the mission has a a different aim; in the first, you fly over the outskirts of the city, looking for stranded Earthies. Land near an installation, and they'll come running out, giggling with joy to see you. They won't be quite so happy if the aliens turn up and blast you to atoms while you're sitting there like a fool.

Later stages take place over the city, where the aim is merely to survive the alien attacks; over the sea, where the challenge is to stay awake, since nothing much seems to happen; and over a landing strip, where meteorites and guide missiles are almost certain to bring you to a fiery end. Never fear, your Phoenix Shields allow you to regenerate your ship up to four times, and you may, just may, be able to get right through to the escape shuttle at the far end (which I've not yet seen).

A little man told me that Panther has been out for ages, and this seems to be some sort of re-issue; but for all that, if you like a joystick-twiddly blast, Panther is worth getting.

Label: Mastertronic Plus
Author: Icon Design
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Originality? Not a jot! Fun? Quite a bit. Give it a shot, tee-hee.

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