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US Gold Ltd
Probe Software Ltd
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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79
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

It's absolutely astonishing how many times the free peoples of the galactic empire have to put all their trust in me to save them.

It's pretty mistaken, too, I can tell you. The invading evil hoards had completely wiped out my people half a dozen times before I even figured out what was going on in Last Mission, let alone put up a credible defence.

Last Mission is actually a pretty good conversion of a classic coin-op gory kill blast. It's fairly conventional but made marginally novel by a wrap-around screen and 360' movement. OK so this is about as original as Asteroids but anyway ...

The aim is to conquer an enemy starbase - which looks curiously enough like many other alien starbases, ie kind of like Milton Keynes (industrial and squarish with cycle paths). Both must've had the same architect.

The industrial complex is defended by small aliens who fire small, easy-to-miss bullets at you and gigantic aliens which fire awfully fast laser bolts at you.

To begin with, as with all the best games, you keep getting wiped out in seconds.

The secret to the game is to locate the more sophisticated weapons which start to make your ship more of a match for the alien hoards. Extra weapons are dotted around the area. Bumping into them picks them up, the keyboard selects between them. Should you do really well (or be very very lucky) you could find yourself with multi-directional photon bolts, a defensive force shield and extra lives.

At this point the game actually becomes too easy - you can blitz everything with no danger. There is a drawback however - things run out and pretty soon you're back to one pathetic laser going farp, farp.

Last Mission looks OK, though not astounding and the graphics are quite detailed both in background and sprites. I found it a bit 'cluttered' looking but perhaps that's just me. US Gold has even (gasp) managed to make the ship a distinct colour from the two background ones. Mr Attribute where are you now?

Sound is not bad either - clever stuff in the title page sounds like several (very wobbly) tracks at once - and the blurps and boings in the game are satisfactory.

Last Mission isn't quite 'just another space shoot-em-up' but it comes near. The 360' playing field works well as a change and I guess the game is about as good a way of saving the world as any other.

Label: US Gold
Author: Probe
Price: £8.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Yet another shoot 'em up? Not quite. An excellent coin-op becomes an OK game. The 360' scroll makes it a little different.

7/10

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PROGRAMMERS

Probe is one of the hottest software development teams around at the moment. So far the team has worked on Arkanoid and Slapfight from Ocean and Enduro Racer for Activision along with Metrocross from US Gold. Probe deals with fifty programmers all over the UK (whose identities are kept largely secret) and is currently working on Trantor, the Last Stormtrooper and Outrun, both for US Gold.