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A'n'F Software
Not Known
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

A & F are probably most famous in Spectrum games for their hi-scorer platform game Chuckie Egg which still sits in the CRASH than even now. It's been quite a while since that came out and the latest release, New Cylon Attack is a conversion from the BBC and Electron micros. The game was said to have set new standards for space games on the Beeb, and one critic went as far as to say that the only problem with it was that there was nothing to criticise (thereby reinforcing the fallacy that criticism implies bad comments).

New Cylon Attack is a 3D space battle in which you must defend civilisation from the attacking Cylon ships. The aliens have discovered the route of your mother ship and are out to destroy it. As an interceptor pilot you are launched from the mother ship to fight them with your laser guns.

Thescreen display is largely filled with the 3D view of space. Centred in the view is a squared gun sight with vertical and lateral moving bars for fine sighting. The sights move with ship movement. Laser bolts are seen as round blobs hurtling out from either side of the screen towards the large and solid aliens.

Other screen information shown Indicates status of shields, lasers and fuel. The lasers use energy and take time to recharge, failing to fire until replenished. Fuel and shields are replenished by docking with the yellow coloured mothership - an automatic process if you line the sights on it. Although fuel may be replenished by docking during an attack wave, shields are only replenished when a wave is defeated. But during the docking aliens may attack the mother ship.

Apart from the multifarious alien craft there are other celestial bodies about, planets with moons, signposts pointing to Mars, comets and many stars. A radar above the viewscreen indicates the positions of attacking aliens which are just out of visual range, while the mother ship is a yellow flashing dot. Well they thought it was great on the Beeb - how about the Spectrum?


'A & F's New Cylon Attack is a 3D cockpit game using graphics which are more solid than the type used by some similar and recent games. The game is very playable but it only involves shooting Cylons - unlike other recent 3D space games like Dark Star and Starstrike, which have more things to do. But Cylon Attack is not exactly like them in the truest sense - it's basically a cockpit shoot em up, and it's a good one at that.'

'It's nice to be able to get away from the 3D wireframe that so many recent games have been specialising on and have solids for a change. I must say, I still prefer solid graphics, and these are nice big and detailed graphics that work well in perspective. This is not just a space shoot em game with your task to eliminate every alien in sight - this game contains more things such as rotating planets with rotating moons circling them, meteorites and asteroids as well as other various classes of space ships which cannot be shot - one of the most recognisable being the USS Enterprise! I am pleased to see A & F keeping on the Spectrum scene as they don ' t seem to have produced anything for the lest six months. Good sound on this game is also a welcome feature. I found the game very playable, but maybe a little wearing on the addictive qualities.'

'There's something a bit old fashioned about New Cylon Attack, not surprising perhaps, as this is an older game from another machine converted to the Spectrum. Not that the old fashioned quality is a drawback, because the graphics and speed are very much up to date, and what you get is a rod, zappy shoot em up in the Timegate tradition. Good sound effects add to the atmosphere as well as dashes of visual humour in some of the debris occupying space with Q. I did find that the game a limited appeal after a while, which affects its addictivity a little, but definitely one for the shoot em up brigade.'

Control keys: user definable, needs four directional and one for fire
Joystick: Kempston catered for, others via UDK
Keyboard play: responsive - watch out for 'inertia' effect
Use of colour: playing area is black and white, simple usage around
Graphics: good, fast moving, large and work well in perspective
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3 fuel lives and percentage of shield damage
Screens: many attack waves
Special features:
General Rating: Good.