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Quicksilva Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

By the year, 2056 all the world's nations had finally made their peace, and to ensure this happy state of affairs lasted, they erected a huge protective shield around the earth. With this Strategic Defence Initiative installed, all arms were rendered useless, and man's urge to fight fizzled away.

But just as everyone was settling down to a life of leisure and boredom, guess what happened. If you answered "the earth was invaded by aliens" take ten points and a gold star. Naturally there was only one man sufficiently strong, quick-witted and stupid to challenge the invading forces, and you are he.

Defcom is of course a shoot 'em up, but it's one slightly out of the ordinary. Instead of the normal side-to-side, up-and-down motion, you flip around on the spot from left to right. You can still move up and down, but only over about half the screen's width. Meanwhile alien ships attack you from all directions. They move amazingly fast and hitting them is a fairly random process. Occasionally alien satellites appear and bomb defenceless earth cities. You'll need special weapons to destroy bombs and satellites which you get by disposing of large numbers of alien ships.

It all sounds great, but in practice, it just doesn't work. Killing aliens is a matter of stamina rather than skill, and to et a blaster (which you need for the satellite) you've got to dispose of 144 alien ships. Yes, 144.

Defcom is certainly different, and at least Quicksilva is trying something new (well, newish). It's just a pity that as a game it's terminally dull.