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Reaktor
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£4.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
SpeedLock 4

28
Tony Worrall
Chris Bourne

On with your racing helmet, tie up those Formula One trainers, grease down that joystick, cos you're about to embark on the ultimate racing thrill of a lifetime. (Well, okay - not quite.) Get ready to take your armoured skimmer into the futuresport of Death Race, 'cos you've become a Deadringer, a pilot dicing with death and destruction by racing along the outside edge of... a doughnut! (Yummy! Has it got jam? P Snout.)

Your object, if you're not to become a dead Deadringer, is to circle the track and stay alive, at least until the time limit runs out. Then it's onto the next level, a little meaner and more crowded.

All sides of the doughnut ring can be used to ride on, so that's four in all. The easiest route is the inside edge, where the track can be seen to bend up towards the top of the screen, giving a full view too of any objects speeding down towards you. On the outside edge the track slopes down into the screen, so that you'll only see anything hurtling in your direction at the very last moment! Hazards are scattered along the ring, and include nasties such as wails, bombs and the odd fellow skimmer also out to win the race.

To help you on your way there's the ammo dump that provides your craft with the firepower to blast away at things. The skimmer also carries a neat line in radar equipment, plus a handy rear-view mirror to keep an eye on whoever's behind you.

As a race game I don't think Deadringer quite makes the grade. It's basically just a shoot-'n'-dodge-against-the-clock game with an unusual setting. Things can get hectic as you bomb down the track at top whack dodging left and right to avoid the enemy, but I reckon the whole thing is let down by the basic feel of the graphics. Everything looks 'blocky', with all the objects seemingly constructed from big squares, constantly enlarged and updated in a very jerky fashion as they get nearer. The lack of variation in later levels also detracts from the overall playability a little.

But having said all that, I found Deadringer an addictive little devil in spite of disliking it on my first try-out.

Uncomplicated, easy to master, and, if you're into this sort of thing, a bargain at the price. Can't say fairer than that!

Unusual shoot 'n' dodge game which is more addictive that you'd imagine on first sight. Let down by poor graphics.

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