Not Known
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

Chris Bourne

The time is a future century in the days of the 'Khasirah Empire'. The khasirans are a peace loving people who live on the planet of Zargat. To keep the place peaceful, they have done what all peace-loving peoples do, they have built a battleship of awesome power to defend the galactic corridors and named it the Death Cruiser.

The 'galactic corridors' are represented in the game as grid of streets', laid out around regular squares. The width of the corridors vary from 'street' to 'street' and from screen to screen, with the general layout changing radically between the screens. The Death Cruiser appears at the centre of the base as each game or life commences. Aliens appear and can move in any direction along the corridors, usually at the screen extremeties, and proceed to hunt the Death Cruiser with single-minded determination.

You can fire in any of the four directions with twin laser blasts, but the aliens are very fast in returning fire. Contact with any of them is fatal. The aliens each have different attack modes, some firing randomly down or across corridors, others homing in first. Bonus blocks appear, and if destroyed, it weakens the aliens resolve.


'The first thing that struck me about this game was the graphics. Although they are quite small in general scale, they are quite neatly drawn and detailed, but it's the movement which is surprising. Quite the smoothest movement I've yet seen in a Spectrum game. There is no flicker or jerkiness at all from the pixel movement. It's a bit difficult to get into due to lack of instructions about the games objectives, although the general idea is immediately apparent. I think it would have been useful to have a display of aliens to be encountered, and points scored for hitting them. These aliens are extremely intelligent, constantly checking your position and rapidly hemming you in.'

'It requires concentration and lighting decisions to succeed at this game. There are a lot of aliens on screen, each materialising one after the other, six in all on the first screen. One type keeps vanishing only to reappear in another part of the screen. When two or even three aliens are converging on your position, it becomes quite unnerving, and as they will start firing if you don't get out of the way or destroy them with your laser, your options for safety diminish very quickly. Playing with a Joystick, the game is very good if you're stuck with the present control key layout it is very difficult. The main problem being that the up and down keys are vertically astraddle the left key, with the right key being on the opposite end of the keyboard.'

'I couldn't work out what I was supposed to be doing with the game, apart from shooting aliens. As there are several types, it would help if you knew what they all did. Eventually it became clear that to be promoted to the second screen I had to clear all the aliens. Not an easy task as they keep materialising after you have shot them. Staying alive is hard enough, without having to be skilful enough to kill the load off! With the keys the, task is almost impossible,'but with a joystick it becomes a challenging game, although I would have liked a few more developments than merely a change of maze layout. Marvellous, smooth graphics. The best I've seen as far as movement is concerned.'

Control keys: Q/P = left/right, 1/CAPS = up/down, SYM SHIFT plus direction key = fire
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: generally responsive, although with key layout, firing quickly can be a problem
Colour: straightforward, but well used
Graphics: excellent smooth movement
Sound: average
Skill levels: 2 speeds, 2 levels of difficulty (aliens more intelligent)
Lives: 3
Comment: the game would be greatly improved with user-definable keys, and we believe Noble House are intending to add them as soon as possible, as well as more detailed instructions.
General Rating: A game which proves that it doesn't have to look fast to be fast, and despite appearances is very hard to play. Good with a joystick, average with keys.


Screenshot Text

Smooth mover meets immovable force in Death Cruiser.