Shahid Ahmad
1985
Arcade: Maze
£3.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

40
Chris Bourne

New from Firebird's Super Silver range is Chimera, an arcade adventure set upon a large Flying Dutchman look alike spaceship. A strange ghost ship has appeared far above the earth and placed itself in orbit over the USA. Apparently, its weapons are trained on Earth, so America, thoughtful and caring nation that it is, has decided to destroy the ghost ship. Placed around the ship are a number of warheads, all of which need to be primed before they can be activated. You have been sent upon a one man mission to prime the warheads and activate the destruction sequence to blow bits of the spaceship all over sunny America. Not a trivial task for a single operative, for who (or what)ever placed the ship into orbit also placed many barriers in the way of anyone trying to activate the warheads. Your first problem is to get past an electric fence. Hint: wander about the maze and you will soon find a spanner that can be used to manually deactivate electric fences.

Displayed from a very Alien 8 point of view, Chimera uses the now trendy Ultimate style of graphics. The main sprite has to be rotated until it points in the direction you want to move, then moved. Along with the directional controls there ' s also a grab/use key for picking up and using handy objects found around the derelict hull. An scrolling message indicator is also included and provides a running commentary on what's happening. If you do cop it in your quest, then it'll even give a short analysis as to you why you died.

Death is waiting for you in many shapes and sizes. Grabbing certain objects can end the game rather quickly if you reach for an activated electric fence, for instance, and you don't have the spanner then you'll have to start again. And radiators lap up your limited water reserves. You have a limited quantity of provisions when you set out on your mission, and it has to be completed before they run out. There's no mistaking when you get killed either, as the computer yells out a hefty synthesised scream.

Upon activating the warheads you then have a limited amount of time to return to your start position before the bombs go off. Naturally you want to save yourself as well as the rest of the world. Get back to home and the game's over and everyone lives happily ever after.

CRITICISM

'What a plot! I've seen better in an Irwin Allen movie. Still the game's not bad. It's highly derivative, in terms of Ultimate's Knight Lore and Alien 8 but when all is said and done, it looks good, plays well and kept me interested for quite a while. If more titles like this are released for £3.95, we will all have something to be pleased about. If you bought the Ultimate games, then you may have had your fill of them by now. M you missed out, or are just an addict, then this has to be worth getting!'

'Chimera is graphically very similar to the Ultimate games; one difference though is that it is definitely more of an arcade adventure than Ultimate's hits. As far as gameplay goes, it is very easy to get into and can prove quite addictive but I can't help thinking that there is too little to the game. While the graphics are very good, there is hardly any significant animation, which is a bit of a let down. Chimera is well worth the £3.95 asking price but I suspect it will mainly appeal to people who don't like complex arcade adventures.'

'The thing that really gets me is that there is nothing to kill off in the game because of the logic problems. These, unfortunately, are trite, inane and (after figuring them out) leave nothing substantial to do. Bearing that in mind, there are some clever sound effects, good graphics and a game that will be something of a challenge (if for slightly annoying reasons). It's a well priced game. Perhaps it will encourage better.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Z, C, B, M rotate left, X, V, N, SYMBOL SHIFT rotate right, A to ENTER move forward, Q to P collect/use, CAPS SHIFT or SPACE to pause game
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: Very Responsive
Use of colour: Reasonable
Graphics: Good
Sound: Good sound effects
Skill levels: One
Screens: 64
General Rating: Better than many full price games.

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