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A'n'F Software
Not Known
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£9.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

60,61
Luke C
Chris Bourne

Imagine you're Andrew Angello, a space hero, searching the asteroid Eroc 1 for whatever nameless horror is destroying all of its inhabitants. Too late, all 720 personnel are dead before you get there... so what does any normal person do? Go home - mission unsuccessful. Oh no, not Andy, he mutters to himself. 'This is going to require skill, speed and brains', and treks off in search of danger and the missing segments of the colony's computer that, once pieced together, will tell the whole story of the sad fate of the ex-personnel.

Eroc 1 is what they call a Deep Asteroid Mining Project, or DAMP, which is just a bit of technical jargon to explain the fact that this game has 1000 different rooms to explore, 250 on each of four levels. Yes, we're talking big here - but don't start searching for a massive piece of paper straight away, my first few hours with Core revealed about 30 rooms... Yes, you've guessed it, this is not a game you're going to finish in an afternoon!

The mines are split up into small sections, each containing a small number of chambers. You travel between these via teleport devices or doorways.

Moving left and right around the chambers, the first thing you notice is that the fire button does not spit the standard 'death-dealing fire', but instead makes Andy bend down to pick up an object. Of course, once he's found a gun then things change - but, until then, you just have to dodge anything that looks deadly. A bit of a shame since virtually everything that moves is deadly, including the flying lightning clouds and sea-mines. Most of these objects just give Andy a shock and deplete his batteries if he touches them, but others, like the walking robot, kill him and that's that!

Core is a lot of fun, and very addictive. Success is not that easy, but when you do get do get a break there's an overwhelming feeling of having accomplished something - especially when you've wandered around the same old rooms wondering if A'n'F had pulled a fast one about the 1000 rooms when suddenly you notice another exit and there lurking off me beaten track are a whole load of objects to be picked up and a new maze of mines to explore.

Core can be frustrating if you're only into fast arcade-action extravaganzas, but I reckon it's one of tho best mixes of arcade and adventure games I've seen for some time.

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If you really want to know how long you've been playing the game, this is the best place to look. Of course, looking at your wristwatch might put things in a wider perspective but...

This window shows you your possible route from any particular chamber.

Here's the icon Menu which has four different display functions - it can act as a control panel, allow Andy to perform different functions via the Fire button, show the number of back-up batteries available and, lastly, show the items Andy has collected on his travels.

What a load of Junk! Or is it? Some of these objects are extremely useful. Most handy is the spade, which can be used to dig up hidden items, and the gun...

Travel by teleport! They take about three seconds to operate, dump you directly in the path of a nasty so there's no way of avoiding it, leave you very little time to exit the machine before it's zapped you back to where you came from, and drain your batteries. Pretty neat, huh?

This red flashing button allows you to toggle the 'Direction Indicator' window when you've found some of the missing parts of the computer's memory, so that you can see how many you've got at any one time.

Each time you zap through the teleport, Andy's battery pack drains a bit lower... and you have to pick up the batteries you find strewn around the mines if you're going to survive. if you let them get down low, you can't see what on earth's going on, it's so dark. Great!

When you try and pick something up, this display tells you what you have just pocketed. It also comes up with unhelpful rubbish - such as 'Watch out' and 'Are you trying to kill yourself?' after you've just been zapped.

Say hello to Any. He's the one who decided to take you on this madcap whirl around the deadly 1000-chamber mines of Eroc 1.

The nasties aren't all deadly - they just drain your batteries on contact. They make the screen flash too... which is pretty neat!