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Domark Ltd
Derek Brewster
1984
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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112,113
Chris Bourne

It's well over a year since we all got excited by Micromega's Code Name Mat, a 3D polar graphics game that was virtually state-of-the-art at the time and was penned by none other than our very own Derek (who wasn't our very own at the time).

In this new game, once again, the survival of Earth depends on you, Mat, the intrepid and fearless space fighter. Again, you are alone in a sophisticated ship, Centaurian II, with two weapons systems, plasma bolts (slower) and lasers (faster). Unlike CNM there is no supporting home fleet to think about. Your task is to make sure that the network of 24 satellites which provides power to the all important Karil- hum mines on Vesta are not destroyed by the enemy Myon forces, leaving Earth to starve.

The power network consists of four power lines, each containing six satellites. Using unmanned craft, the Myons attack the satellites attempting to break all four power lines by destroying at least one satellite in each line. You must hold them off for as long as you can the longer you hold them off the more Karillium will be mined. The trick is to make sure that at least one line is always kept open, either by moving undamaged satellites into the position of the dead ones or by repairing the partially damaged satellites.

Centaurian II has a number of systems; SAFETY prevents you melting your weapons and stops you going into hyperspace without any shields. An energy bar indicates the state of the batteries (which are kept topped up by the engines, so long as they aren't damaged). The screen on the left has a number of functions. It's a battle computer, rear view screen, long and short range scanner, and a quad scanner which will tell you where the enemy is and how many satellites have been damaged. On the battle computer you'll see the enemy's range, and all you have to do is to manoeuvre the ship so the blob appears in the centre. The Target computer automatically selects the nearest enemy ship. After a fight, a damage report is given and the computer also directs repair droids to fix any damaged system, during which time the system will be shut down.

Out in space though, learning Myon tactics is important. The first couple of waves tend to home in on you. Between each wave there is some time to repair damage inflicted on your ship or the satellites. Then after the first two attacks, the following ones are directed at the satellites and that means a lot of warping back and forth.

Good luck Mat, we at CRASH are counting on you.

CRITICISM

'Code Name Mat II is another strategy space shoot em up. Although there is a mass of instructions supplied with the game, a quick read should be enough to put you in the picture. After all, by now we should all be familiar with the concepts of short and long range scanner, battle computers and damage reports. This game has all of that and a little bit more. Of course the drawback is having to memorise all of the buttons needed to make the various functions spring to life, but the keen will soon learn. The graphics are adequate but not good enough to make the game brilliant. A long way above average'

'This is a pretty complicated game and it took me quite some time to master the controls. On the whole my effort was well rewarded. Code Name Mat II has all the right ingredients. It needs arcade skills to defeat the enemy in combat, and strategic skills to frustrate the enemy's aims. Above all it requires a sense of adventure to begin in the first place. The game brings to life some very complex interactions, and it all becomes very absorbing - especially when you check for damage and notice that the battle computer and the short range scanner are on the blink making you virtually blind. Great, if this sort of game interests you then you must not pass it by'

'I never actually saw "MAT 1" so when I came across this one I hadn't a clue how to play it. The instructions were a bit muddled so they didn't help playing much. I m sure I would have got the hang of playing with all the keys after a while but for some time I was totally lost. The graphics are nothing too special although there were a few nice touches here and there. There was a definite lack of sound in this game which is a shame as it might have made it a little more playable, but I doubt it. Generally I wouldn't play this game a lot as it is a little too involved for me to handle, even though it is quite addictive.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: 6/7/8/9/0 for left/ right/up/down/fire, 1/2/3 for decelerate/accelerate/stop, 4/5 for cruising speed (30%)/full speed. There are 14 other vital controls
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, Cursor
Keyboard play: complicated and often fiddly
Use of colour: good
Graphics
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
General Rating: A fast 3D tactical space game felt to be well above average to good.

78%
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CODENAME MAT 2, created by our very own Adventure Reviewer for your delectation and entertainment. Remember what they taught you in Space School.