Compass Software have released three games in the last year - Invaders From Planet X, The Micro Mutant and The Blood Of Bogmole. But, (but!) there hasn't been a review of a Compass game in YS for over a year, so I thought I'd do a review of my favourite Compass title to date!
The game is set in the not too distant future and the storyline is quite simple. Planet X is on a collision course with Earth (due largely to its decaying orbit) and it's up to you, Captain Garth Conrad, to do something to avert disaster. To do this you need the DDC (or Dome Defence Computer) which your side-kick, Professor Rogers, is working on. When finished, the powerful energy beam that this revolutionary defence system emits will not only divert Planet X from the Earth's path, but blast it into another dimension altogether.
Unfortunately Planet X is inhabited by a vicious race of aliens who are hellbent on destroying the earth no matter what the consequences to themselves might be. With this in mind, they launch a preemptive strike on the partially completed DDC project - located somewhere in the icy wastes of the North Pole. Wave after wave of alien suicide ships rain down on the DDC command and research centre, causing much damage, but leaving most of the structure intact. However, the suicide ships were only the first wave of the attack and were merely paving the way for the mighty mothership to land at the research centre and deliver the final, crushing blow. And that's where the storyline ends and the game begins.
Upon beaming' over to the DDC complex at the north pole from HQ you are treated to the first of many special effects (and split screen graphics) that the games author Jon Lemmon has incorporated into the adventure. Compass Software games are usually stuffed full of sound, screen and other special effects, so be prepared for some extrasensory treats as you start to play the game.
Your main objectives are to destroy as many aliens as possible (or at least avoid being captured by them) and discover a way of recharging the DDC and get it working in time to blast Planet X out of the universe!
You're free to wander around the complex, examining things, finding clues etc, until you start to encounter some of the more complex bits of the game. There's an alien bomb, loads of dead bodies and streams of aliens to contend with. You'll know when an alien is beaming down into the Research Station from the mothership because a ticker tape message flashes across the screen. Once on your trail they're pretty hard to shake off.
Fortunately you aren't alone in your fight against the aliens. Certainly not! Professor Rogers, your erstwhile pal, survived the aliens murderous attack, but he needs urgent help if he is to see the game out. Another survivor comes in the form of TWONK II, a useful but slightly bashed up robot. Like the Professor, he needs your help if he's to become fully functional and useful to you later in the game.
During your exploration of the Research Centre make sure you find, and take, everything which could come in handy later in the game. You'll have to take on the aliens in their own environment which basically means that a visit to the mothership is necessary if you want to finish the game. You'll find that all manner of useful equipment can be found. constructed or unearthed. (Here's a tip - get a scanner!)
The game will eventually end (if you're that clever) with an arcade game, which turns out to be rather similar to that old classic Defender. It's quite easy, comes right at the end of the game and shouldn't, if you want my unbiased opinion, put you off buying it. At £1.99 (£1.49 if you use the Compass discount coupon) it's excellent value for money. Miss it at your peril.
Invaders from Planet X is available from: Compass Software, 111 Mill Road, Cobholm, Gt. Yarmouth, Norfolk NR31 0BB. Price £1.99 (overseas customers add £1 to cover P&P) - see compass coupon in this issue to get the game at £1.49.