All those who thought that Gremlin's Deflektor was going to bear more than a passing resemblance to Virgin's Rebel, slap wrists and go to the bottom of the class.
Because, although the games are based on the same principle, (bouncing light beams across a series of mirrors to open the door to the next level) Deflektor's very different.
Deflektor is set in an electrical circuit system. The system has been invaded by Gremlins (what else) and things are generally a bit on the dodgy side. Basically, the current isn't getting through and it's up to you to twiddle knobs until it does. Go through all thirty levels and you've won the game.
What makes Deflektor more complicated than Rebel, and considerably harder, is the fact that it's not just a case of moving mirrors. There are the Gremlins themselves to contend with. They jig about all over the place, moving mirrors and sending your beam anywhere but where you'd like it to go. And they leave little deposits around the place (ooer!), which need to be zapped with the laser to keep the place tidy. Then there are the energy sapping blocks dotted about, revolving mirrors that just won't stay still, refracting blocks, rocks, clocks, (sorry, slip of the typewriter, no clocks at all really) and, by and large, bits and pieces which are there basically to get in your way.
It's a daunting task at first. You control your laser using a cursor square which is positioned over any mirror in contact with the light beam. By pressing down the Fire button and rotating the joystick, you can twizzle the mirror around, thus sending the laser in the direction of your choice. Not as easy as it sounds. I found controlling the light beam pretty tricky at first.
Once you've got the elementaries sorted out, off you go, twanging your beam around the place, bouncing it off various doings, until the screen goes completely red, and the message, 'Boom, Boom, Boom' appears on the computer print-out screen at the bottom. This is not an indication that a Eurovision Song Contest entry is about to begin, but rather a message telling you that you've overloaded the system.
Once you've overloaded the system, you have to start again, so it quickly becomes priority to find out how to prevent yourself from doing it again. You can overload the system by cutting your beam across itself, by training it on to a particular type of block, or by doubling it back on itself to re-enter the generator. And with the Gremlins about, avoiding all those things isn't easy.
In fact, you'll probably find that 'easy' isn't a word that you can apply to Deflektor.
Whereas Rebel only required you to suss out which way to angle the mirrors. Deflektor gives you added hassle in the shape of bits and pieces that generally muck things up for you.
You'll probably end up feeling horribly frustrated and tearing out your hair. But you might find yourself hooked.
Personally, I found Deflektor a little too complex for my tastes - there's just a bit too much going on for my liking, but I'm quite prepared to admit that there are people who are going to just lurrve it.
So whether you're that sort of person who likes mathematical puzzles and bouncing light beams off your head, or someone who like the bonus rounds which just require you to zap Gremlin droppings without too much thought, you'll probably appreciate Deflektor to some extent.
Either way, it's worth giving it a go, if only to appreciate the fact this is one heckuva clever game.
Author: Costa Panayi
Reviewer: Tamara Howard
Strategical-cum-zappy game that's going to fascinate. Whether it keeps your interest, is down to how patient you feel.
The man responsible for Deflektor is COSTA PANAYI, one half of the Vortex programming team. Previously, Costa has worked on Revolutions and Highway Encounter for Vortex.