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Quicksilva Ltd
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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106
Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

In 1986 Ronald Reagan's Star Wars plan seemed like an impossible dream. By 2056 however, it was an established fact of life with a system of satellite defences protecting man, both from himself and the outside universe.

Under this technological shield, man was free to lead a life of leisure. This idyllic existence had to end, and on Christmas Eve 2056 things went horribly wrong. A warlike alien race took over the satellite defences, and turned the Star Wars system against the Earth's cities.

Earth's Council held a n emergency session, and came up with one last plan for survival. The World's only hope was one man, the dashing Captain Nick Diamond (World Xeno champ for as long as anyone could remember).

You are Nick Diamond, flying an Eagle Class E751 fighter above the slowly revolving Earth. Accessing the main options window allows sound effects to be turned on or off, and the scores or scrolling message windows opted for. The score window, energy bar centre and message window appear along the top of the main viewscreen. Nick's mission is to destroy the eight satellites that are in geostationary orbits over cities.

Diamond is equipped with four different weapons which become available at different stages of the game. Firstly there's the COSMOGUN, which is always available and is capable of firing two shots at a time. The FAZALAZA is acquired after 12 targets have been destroyed and is armed with fifty shots, three of which can be on screen at once. Destroying a dozen targets earns you a DYNORAY that is equipped with ten rounds, fires three simultaneously, and can destroy alien bombs. Finally, the ultimate weapon is the E751's BLASTER. This is the only weapon capable of taking out the enemy satellites, and 144 aliens must eat vacuum before this enters the arsenal.

The E751 is under constant attack, and each successful enemy shot drains its limited energy supply. A complete loss of energy is fatal, but diminished supplies are replenished every time a satellite is destroyed.

Scrolling messages inform you of where the aliens are massing. Accessing the map from the main options window shows your position relative to the Earth 's surface, and also the position of the satellites. Using this map you can easily locate your targets.

Once a satellite has been located and reached, it comes into view on the main screen. The cities start off with a rating of five, but this rating falls point by point as they incur damage from the alien-controlled satellites. If a city's rating reaches zero it has been reduced to rubble and when all eight cities have been pulverized, Nick has failed.

Come on Nick you can do it. After all the world Xeno championships wouldn't be the same without you!

CRITICISM

'One thing I can really do without at the moment is a tacky shoot em up. Having said that, every aspect of Defcom is good except one - its playability. This is perhaps the most important feature in a game of this nature. I couldn't play this for more than half an hour as it gets extremely tedious and is very hard to play. The graphics and sound are good, which is what we have come to expect from BINARY DESIGN. I feel that the programmers have deliberately tried to make Defcom as difficult as possible. I can't really recommend it.' BEN

'This must be one of the most boring games around at the moment - I literally yawned as I finished my first game. The screen is laid out in a very boring fashion, with at least 75% of it black. It's a pity however that the enemy ships move so quickly, as close examination reveals some very well drawn and animated characters. Defcom's main problem is its playability: having to access the menu so many times reduces play to a quick shooting session followed by a slow plod through the awkward menu. There is absolutely nothing here that would keep me playing for any length of time. Avoid it.' PAUL

'The graphics in Defcom are enough to make you look at the game, and maybe want to play it. Indeed, it is alright for the first few goes, but it becomes monotonous really quickly. Colour isn't used too well, but the way in which the spaceships zoom in and out of the screen is interesting. The overlaid scores and so on are okay, but they do tend to clutter the playing area. There is little involved in this game which would hold the interest for more than about half an hour. If monotonous, boring. unplayable, but pretty shoot 'em ups are your scene, then Defcom is for you.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q up, A down, P right, O left, ENTER menu, SPACE fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor
Use of colour: limited to blue and black
Graphics: brilliant sprite animation
Sound: great 128 tune, otherwise rather average sound and effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: one
General Rating: Good graphics, but it's a shame about the game.

76%
68%
41%
44%
41%
45%

Screenshot Text

While the map is accessed, the message window informs the pilot of the E751 that India is having problems with the aliens.

Approaching a satellite. Blast it and a city becomes safe from the alien horde.