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Vortex Software
Costa Panayi
1985
Arcade: Action
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Chris Bourne
Chris Bourne

HERE COMES THE CHOPPER!

THE VIOLENT scenario of TLL has been replaced by an altogether more humanitarian mission in the sequel, Cyclone. Rather than provide you with a swing-wing Tornado, Vortex has obtained a nippy little helicopter, and your task is not to bomb the bases but collect vital medical supplies in the face of a colossal hurricane.

The playing area is large, an expanse of ocean dotted with islands which are being evacuated. A map option shows the overall picture, and charts the centre of the cyclone, which can move around with frightening speed.

While the graphics are based firmly on the very successful TLL, with 3D-style landscapes and small houses, they are not as pleasing to the eye. The game has several new factors which, however, more than make up for the deficiency.

There is more animation; villagers on the islands wave at you, and the helicopter has a hook and line with which to winch up the crates of supplies. The rugged terrain of the islands may cause you to crash, but far more dangerous are the other aircraft on the flight lanes between the islands, and the cyclone itself. While producing no apparent effect on the landscape, if you stray too close to the epicentre it will buffet you this way and that. You will be lucky to escape with your life, let alone with sufficient fuel to make it to a landing pad.

An extra bonus is the option to view the landscape from both North and South. The crates of supplies will only be visible from one direction, so you must explore the coastline carefully to find the boxes. The minute danger threatens it is all too easy to forget which way you are heading and fly straight into the eye of the storm.

While offering less opportunity for flashy aerobatics than its predecessor, Cyclone presents more problems and is more satisfying to play. The graphics are still effective, if less complex, and the concept of battling against the weather as well as your own cackhandedness is novel and welcome.

Chris Bourne

Memory: 48K
Price: £6.95
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Protek

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