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Ocean Software Ltd
1985
Arcade: Action
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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16
Gwyn Hughes
Chris Bourne

Wanted: a hero. Must have: nerves of steel; accurate marksmanship; goggle eyes, green, slimy skin and webbed feet! Yea - who wants to look like Harrison Ford when you can be a Cosmic Wartoad? And with your Queen transformed into a (Yuk!) human female by the 'orrible Rygellian Slime Beasts (Boo!), and chained beneath a descending buzz saw (Gasp!) then you have no time to lose.

Ninety, real-time minutes is the limit as you cross the void of Rygellian Time Nodes via your Cosmic Willy. Cosmic Willy? Who but Denton Designs could provide not a cursor but a tadpole? The Slime Beasts ain't glad to see you though when you arrive at a node you'll find a welcoming committee. Defeat this and you can occupy the node, but blow it and you lose a life and return to the previous node. Lose three lives (Oh no!) and you're returned to the start, but the chainsaw is ever nearer your prone Princess.

Don't worry if you don't fully understand all this nonsense... sorry, wildly exciting plot. The arcade action element as you travel between nodes takes three distinct forms, of graded difficulty. You'll have to clear the screen before your arrival is established, though with Slime Pawns reproducing and Sludge Slugs falling on you it's no picnic (Aww, and I bought the ants!).

Between bouts of frantic blasting comes the strategy element that sorts out the toads from the tadpoles. Your path across the eight by eight Time Grid allows for different courses, and some nodes are more useful than others as they provide Time Tunnels, if you can find the keys. You'll need others to recharge your gun. And all the while you'll be seeking to avoid the worst foes and collect the objects that you need to free the Queen.

With its iris-ing windows and great graphics the game is as stylish and idiosyncratic as you'd expect from the people who gave you Frankie, and it's pretty difficult. But who could resist when the prize for success is a webbed hand in marriage - and the price of failure is that you get to carry her home in two separate bags!

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Screenshot Text

Okay, Einstein, get this! If you want to cross the time of road faster take a Time Tunnel. An unlocked link turns white and stays that way, but first you'll need a key - see!

Purple means power, not Prince in the Rygellian Void. Nodes like this give you a chance to recharge the batteries of your Constant Recoil Alpha-Pellet Gun... and even Rambo ain't got one of those!

Here's Willy, your cosmic cursor, all ready at the start to move you one square at a time towards your goal, the bottom left hand corner.

And here are the bits and bobs that no self-respecting Wartoad could be without on a rescue mission. Things like an Intergalactic Whisk and a Chronosynclastic Stanley Knife which are littering the void.

Here are the keys to taking the Tunnels, and luckily the Slime Beasts have left them lying around the nodes. Locate them and you too can start the parked car that blocks your passage.

If your shooting's up to scratch you'll see the bar chart indicate a reduction in Slime power by turning from yellow to white. The real nasties rate red status though.

Handsome beast, aren't you. Quite an amphibious Andrew Ridgley. Gun raised you're having a go at the nasties in an ordinary, cyan node.

One type of opponent, the Slime Master and accompanying Pawns. They're small and deadly and reproduce at a frantic pace to protect their Master and attack you!

And here she is, the Queen, the chainsaw out of sight above her. Can you fight through to reach her before she croaks (Sorry!)?

Along with the accompanying score across the way, this is how you measure your progress. If you can get a good enough differential you have the chance to temporarily neutralise the oppo with a Times Robotic Defender!