Mastertronic Ltd
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

55
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Oh! Heaven! Finally someone in the software industry parodies the stupidity of the infernal storylines choc-full of long names and mystical, evil overlords.

The company in question is Mastertronic. and the game is Chronos, a very straightforward space shoot-out - largely redeemed by the fact that it isn't veiled in a naff storyline.

The program itself is a Scramble/Defender sort of affair which means (if you were fortunate enough not to be around in the dim and distant days of the clanky old arcades, and thus avoided these old-times) you fly a heavily armed space-ship over, behind and through enemy lines on a mission of death and destruction. You can't bomb anything in Chronos - it's all laserfire strafing runs at low level, crashing into the ground a lot and things like that.

Everything is two-colour, and your highly unimaginative ship moves around with acceptable speed, only flickering when it gets too close to the ground.

You can fire an apparently inexhaustible number of shots so the best tactic is to slowly move up and down the screen in a sort of wavy style, firing for all you're worth, making a sort of sine wave of bullets on the screen which the aliens find virtually impossible to penetrate.

On later levels, the aliens are more difficult. They fly in increasingly mad patterns, diving and looping and dodging nearly all of the laser bolts on the screen. It actually gets a little worrying after a while.

The landscapes over which you fly are a mixture of steel constructions and land masses, and there are a few - very predictable - dead ends which you are encouraged to follow.

When you waste an alien, it will explode in a manner very similar to the way the bombs go off in Amaurote (SU) 62) which isn't very impressive at all, but is - cliches! - better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

Bonus points can be scored by collecting letters in each of the levels. The letters (B,O,N,U and S) can be seen drifting in little square things and you must fly at them. The later the letter the higher the score.

Chronos is one of those games that proves hugely entertaining for a few minutes before you remember that it's near-as-damn-it exactly the same as 50 percent of your software collection.

Label: Mastertronic
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

***

Enjoyable though hugely unoriginal space blast. Like rock from Rhyl - pretty average all way through.

3/5