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1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Firebird BleepLoad

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63
Andy Smith
Chris Bourne

Firebird would like to fly you to the moon.

The moon may not be made of cream cheese but a large portion of the surface would appear to be chequered. That's if Pete Cooke's latest game is anything to go by (Pete's the chap who brought us Tau Ceti, Academy and Micronaut One).

In the game you play Slaatn, a common or garden alien who was happily blasting his way through the solar system until his ship was dragged off course and forced to land on the moon. Slaatn's only hope of escape is to disable the moon-based transmitters that made the force field that forced him down in the first place.

The game breaks down into four levels, each consisting of eight zones. Each zone contains a set number of transmitters (small boxes on the surface) which the player must pick up with his ship to clear the zone. No problem - simply fly into them. Dodging the surface features - varying in shape and size from telegraph pole-like thingies to craters, plus the various droids - is a problem though The landscape scrolls sideways while your ships stays in the centre of the screen, though you can move it from foreground to background to dodge obstacles.

At the start of each zone you can alter the ratios between the ship's fuel, shield strength and ammunition levels. Some zones have the transmitters widely spaced so you'll have to do make do with less ammunition and shield strength for the extra fuel you'll need to reach them and still return. For other zones you'll need plenty of ammo to blast your way through hosts of droids.

Earthlight boasts some stunning graphics and sound effects and a big task to complete, but each zone is very much like the last and it soon becomes something of a slog to complete the levels.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

RELEASE BOX
Spec, £7.95cs, Out Now
Now other versions planned

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 70/100
1 hour: 80/100
1 day: 85/100
1 week: 70/100
1 month: 30/100
1 year: 15/100

Good, playable stuff that unfortunately suffers from lack of variety.

9/10
8/10
3/10
7/10
725/1000

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SPECTRUM VERSION

The graphics are first rate, as are the sound effects, and the game plays very well. There's just not enough variety in the zones to keep you going though.

Screenshot Text

Zone seven on level one - collect that transmitter (the small box), head for home and you'll have completed a zone.