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US Gold Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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10 ,11
Garth Sumpter
Chris Bourne

It's fast and furious and as it emerges blinking into the light of day, we bring you this exclusive review of Crackdown, the conversion of the hit Sega arcade game that allows two players to explore each level completely independently of each other.

Crackdown has one or two players playing the roles of two futuristic mercenaries, Andy Attacker and Ben Breaker whose job it is to infiltrate and destroy the headquarters of the maniacal Dr K who is a dribbling lunatic thanks to his do it to yourself experiments in genetics. Unfortunately he's not enough jam butties short of a picnic to have built an army of Replicants who will take over the world unless our beefy heros can destroy them and their cracked creator.

Each of the 16 levels is viewed from above with each player taking up half of the split screen. As you move around the play area, a map above the action screens shows each players position but due to the condensed size of the arcade version this only serves to show you your way and where the X's are.

Andy and Ben must lay time bombs at each of the allocated positions before they can exit to the next level. X's mark the spot and walking over each one will place and activate the time bomb. Once they are all positioned you must exit at speed. If you don't make it out before the timer hits zero you'll loose a life and have to start the level from the beginning but on leaving each level you'll have to load in the next level. Oh no! A 16 level multi load all you 48K owners cry. "Na na, di na na, should've got a 128K Spectrum" taunt all the designer Speccy owners. Well pooh to them too 'cos they'll have to load each level too! Luckily each load is only 8K so you won't have to wait too long and all the designer Speccy with 128K will have continuous music with the game.

The game is in monochrome due to the complexity of the graphics but can be a little messy in some places. This is probably due to trying to get as near to the arcade as possible adding the unenviable task of cramming in lots of animation frames. Players can hug walls, fall down holes or even get washed away by torrential stretches of water.

The sound FX are okay and the music adds to the flavour of a game that shows the obvious progression to Gauntlet, giving players a Gauntlet style of game but increasing the freedom of the individual players.

If you prefer to simultaneous two player games then Crackdown should take a worthy place on your software shelf.

Label: US Gold
Author: Arc Development
Price: £9.99
Reviewer: Garth Sumpter

JIM SEZ: 79% Complex plan view action a little heavy on the eyes.

The Gauntlet style comes of age in the 1990's.