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David W. Harper
1984
Arcade: Adventure
£5.50
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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14
Chris Bourne

While you are struggling to save the universe from the infinitely evil Scarthax, spare a thought for Ziggy's daring friend, the infinitely beautiful Deny, who's dashing to aid her super hero comrade when she runs into a dreadful space storm and is thrown into a part of space she doesn't know well. The space ship is damaged, and seeking somewhere safe to repair it, finds herself heading for a supposedly deserted old Drive In planetoid in a disused asteroid mining belt. To her surprise the Drive In is flashing its neon welcoming signs. She enters and the doors slam shut! Deny has entered Scarthax's trap!

Your task is to help Deny escape. Within the Drive In is a maze of rooms inhabited by 28 different types of alien. Deny can escape by assembling an old intergalactic spaceship, parts of which may be found within the 189 rooms. Energy is in short supply, and you must find ways of replenishing it. Some rooms contain automatic garages, swap shops, banks and time machines. There are also useful objects to be collected, four being allowed at a time. Some of these will let you do different things and aid in your task, some will be useful to swap for energy. Some rooms need keys to enter and exit, others are controlled by traffic lights. The discovered parts of the ship must be reassembled in room 189 in the correct sequence, which you must also discover.

Points are scored for destroying aliens, and a percentage is awarded for the amount of the game you have completed. Each room in the game is represented by a single screen with exit and entry points marked. Four boxes above the playing area are used to show what you are carrying, and the Fantasy logo changes colour progressively as your energy runs down.

CRITICISM

'I don't think Fantasy are too pleased with this game as until now I've not seen any adverts for it. When I first played Drive In it didn't really appeal to me, but now I've found with much more play that I enjoy it. It actually plays like a lot of other Fantasy games except that around the rooms (most of which are easily accessible) there is a time machine that looks like a clock and which gives you, in effect, extra lives by giving you back all your power (in return for some points loss). There is a distinct lack of aliens (only 28 different types!) even though they clutter up the rooms making it difficult to get from one side to the other without losing power. There is also a shelter provided in some of the more crowded rooms where you can hide from the aliens until the lights change. All in all I found playing this game quite pleasant but it was a bit hard to grasp the idea of what you were supposed to be doing at the beginning.'

'I think Fantasy have left the object of Drive In a bit obscure, letting you find out many things for yourself, which in many games isn't a bad point, but in this game, it seems to me, to be its downfall. The reasoning behind this is that it is very difficult to work out what several objects are capable of doing. The game itself is more of an intensive shoot em up than anything else. This will appeal to many people, although I think the strategy in programming just shoot em up games is not developing enough, people require more thought and drive, and here actually shooting down aliens is really a very simple task, unlike the same task in, say, Doomsday Castle . I became bored quickly with this game because l didn't seem to be getting anywhere with it, which is a shame, because the graphics are large and very nicely animated. Perhaps people demand more than just unskilful shoot em ups these days.'

'Drive In has split itself into two distinct games, an alien zapper and a maze/strategy game. It would be easy to say that Drive In probably has the action that maybe Backpackers slightly lacks, but it wouldn't be entirely true, for killing aliens is too easy, they become merely a colourful hindrance to the second task of identifying useful objects, ship parts and learning what does what. In all of this the graphics are very nice, plenty of different and imaginative aliens, and lots of animation. Drive In makes a good, lightweight game which will probably appeal to many, but in the end it isn't all that addictive.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: user definable, four direction and fire, plus keys 1 to 4 for pick up/drop
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: very good, varied and imaginative
Sound: average
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
Screens: 189
General Rating: Above average.

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Screenshot Text

Ziggy's bestest friend Dezzy comes to the rescue, and finds herself trapped in the DRIVE-IN.