Unless otherwise stated this review is not affiliated with any other website nor has the review been authorised by the copyright company or indiviudal author. As of 17th July 2017 this encompasses every review within ZXSR. If you would like this or any other review removed from this website, please contact the website administrator here.

1988
Arcade: Adventure
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

Other Links


44,45
Bob Wade
Chris Bourne

Incentive scheming in 3D.

Ultimate were the last software house to come up with a programming technique that took the games world by storm. Now Incentive are causing a similar ruckus with their Freescape system. It first made its appearance in Driller, and is now used for the sequel - which looks set to be an even more popular success.

The game is set 200 years after Driller and continues the battle between the Ketars and the Evaths. Your task is to destroy an energy grid which is powering up Zephyr One - a doomsday device aimed at your planet.

If you've seen Driller then you'll immediately recognise the stylish and distinctive Freescape system. It creates a 3-dimensional world which you can walk and fly into, over and under. Your freedom is considerably enhanced by being able to fly right from the start with the aid of a jet-pack. However, there isn't much fuel - so no joy-riding.

The view you're given is very versatile. You can look through a 180 degree are up and down, and also tilt the view. The movement capability is greatly enhanced by the jet-pack - which can go straight up and down - and the ability to crouch and crawl under things.

Interaction with the stippled landscape is conducted in one of two ways: either you can shoot things with your laser or walk into them. The latter can be a little dangerous because every time you walk into something you shouldn't it depletes your initially small shield supply. Both shield and fuel levels can be increased by walking into the right object.

Once you're familiar with the environment and your equipment, you can get down to the task in hand. It's more of an arcade game than Driller, although the puzzle emphasis is still strong. Destroying the energy grid is mostly a matter of exploration and mapping, with more and more puzzles introduced as you get deeper into the game.

The energy grid is a chain of towers linked by cables that run along the ground. The tower tops have to be shot to disable them. However, if two other working towers are linked to it the damaged tower will regenerate immediately. This is the crux of the game - finding the start of a chain of towers and wiping them all out. This isn't made easier by the fact that some towers are initially connected to up to five others.

It's easy to find a few towers early on that aren't in complicated, criss-crossing chains. This is important because the time limit depends on the number of towers operating. The more towers, the faster time runs out.

Naturally things aren't as easy as that because there are plenty of defences and puzzles to test your skills. The simplest are guns called Plexors which shoot when you get too near. They don't all behave the same though - watch out for reappearing ones and devious ways of getting rid of them. The puzzles mostly consist of working out ways to get inside buildings, and how to switch devices on and off. Rapid travel can be achieved using powerporters which teleport you from on spot to another. The telepod also teleports you, but to use it you have to find four crystals. Each crystal will take the telepod to a different place, and all four are needed to bring about a final victory. The first is easy to find - you'll encounter it by accident - out the other three are altogether much harder to get.

As in Driller, you have to watch out for the unexpected around every corner. There's a tunnel network which can get you into otherwise hard to get at locations. It's also used when getting out of the prison cell that the automatic defences can toss you into. You've also got to watch out for fatal drops when the jet-pack isn't on, and the killer satellites that appear above you and start blasting away at your shield.

There's a lot more urgency about the action than in the more sedate Driller. The time limit is a tough one and you've got to move fast early on if you're going to beat it. Having said that, it is easy to get into because although the first few games will end quickly, you'll still be finding out lots of interesting things in that time.

Its more absorbing than Driller, but probably easier to solve as well. You'll be completely enthralled by it until it's solved but after that there's nothing to come back for. At the reduced price this is even better value than the original. It looks like Freescape is going to be around for a lot more games.

Reviewer: Bob Wade

RELEASE BOX
Ams, £9.95cs, £14.95dk, Out Now
Spec, £9.95cs, £14.95dk Out Now
C64/128, £9.95cs, £14.95dk, Imminent
ST and Amiga versions under development.

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 75/100
1 hour: 90/100
1 day: 90/100
1 week: 90/100
1 month: 70/100
1 year: 10/100

You'll be totally absorbed until you finish it, but after that it has nothing more to offer.

8/10
2/10
7/10
6/10
904/1000

Banner Text

SPECTRUM VERSION

It's faster than the Amstrad version but less colourful. The stippling shading effects mean it still looks fine.

AMSTRAD VERSION

The graphics are of the same high standard as before, excellent use being made of stippling, shading and colour. Movement isn't lightning fast, but with the variable step size it moves at a reasonable pace. The sound is poor but that's hardly a surprise with so much graphics and gameplay packed in.

Graphics: 9/10

Audio: 3/10

IQ Factor: 7/10

Fun Factor: 6/10

Ace Rating: 915/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 90/100

1 hour: 90/100

1 day: 90/100

1 week: 90/100

1 month: 70/100

1 year: 10/100

Screenshot Text

1. You enter the sirius sector.

2. Turning on the jet-pack you get a close-up of the tower top.

3. Flying forward gets you a better view of the plexor gun on the ground. What can that triangle be for?

4. As you turn to the right a building comes into view. Let's investigate.

5. Approaching the building reveals a blocks - wonder what happens when you shoot it?

6. Back on the ground you shoot the block and a door appears. You venture inside...

7. A powerporter that transports you to another location.

Running into this column replenishes your fuel.

Running into this symbol on the wall replenishes the shield.

If you shoot the top or bottom of this structure it converts shield into fuel or vice versa.

This is the prison cell you get thrown into. Lo and behold, inside you find a telepod crystal - but how are you going to get out again?

This is the interior of the telepod and there's one crystal in place. Shoot it and the pod will move to a new location.

Spectrum - equally superb graphics on this version.

C64 - Not quite finished yet, but we'll update it when it is.

This may look like an egg-timer but in fact it can be a powerporter or a fuel-shield transfer point.

The ECD rating affects the speed at which the time limit runs out. Every tower disabled reduces it by 4%.

The time limit counts down as a binary display. If it reaches the top square you're dead.

This is you - at the moment you're standing but the character can crouch or turn on his jet-pack as well.