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CORE Design Ltd
1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

85
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

Remember Spy Hunter? Well, this seems to be the sequel, and judging by its copyright date on the title screen, it first appeared in the arcades quite a while ago. Action Fighter is based very heavily on its predecessor, which straight away tells us that simplicity is the name of the game. It also means that Action Fighter is a bit crap, although that's most likely more to do with the original arcade game than any fault of Firebird's.

The proceedings begin with you on a motorbike zooming along a scrolling road. The traffic is fairly heavy and rather aggressive, so you'll need to make frequent use of your built-in laser. Blow away enough baddies and letters will start floating down the screen. These, if grabbed fast enough, will eventually transform your bike into a car (although how this benefits you I'm not sure). The car eventually sprouts wings and sets off into...

Part Two. This is a radical departure from the original Hunter theme, but looks to me like a bog-standard, run-of-the-mill, seen-one-you've-seen-'em-all scrolling shoot-'em-up. (Eeek! A hyphen invasion!) The screen rolls past extrrreeemely slooowwwty. and your car/plane/thingy flies up, down, left and, yes, right, shooting, erm, everything. When you've done that, it's on to Stage Two - very much like Stage One but with the graphics changed round a bit.

At the end of each stage there's some kind of mission to complete. The missions include blowing up a submarine, some hover tanks and helicopter gunships.

Gripping stuff. As in Hunter, trucks draw up alongside you every so often to bestow you with add on weapons if you drive aboard. Although furious attempts have obviously been made to spruce the game up, it still plays pretty much like the other game. You may consider this to be no bad thing - some reckon Hunter is an extremely addictive game. Not me though. I wouldn't say the graphics are much better than Hunter either. They're in monochrome for a start, and all the sprites are a bit on the small side. Humph.

Iss all right for a bit, I suppose, but Fighter's lasting appeal is definitely limited I can't imagine anyone playing it for much more than, ooh, a very short time. I haven't played the arcade original, so for all I know this could be a very good conversion. There just isn't enough here to allow it to compete admirably in today's overcrowded market.

Not a particularly good scrolly road game, but sort of alrightish in its own way.

47%
70%
67%
60%
62%

Screenshot Text

Stage Three, Part Two, and we're airborne. The gun sight shows where your bombs will land and, well, you can probably guess the rest.

Stage One, Part One, and we're just approaching a ramp which should allow us to jump over the river. The yellow arrow shows us which way to go (it always points up).