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1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

74,75
Sean Kelly
Chris Bourne

'From underground there came a machine encircled by death, that kills but cannot be killed... The Eliminator. A war machine whose solitary quest is to eradicate all forms of life.' Oo-er! Bit unsociable, what? Still, being an intergalactic games tester does involve battling some really evil types. Here... hang about though. I am the Eliminator. Gosh!

Playing Eliminator is a good way to achieve involuntary genocide. Finding yourself at the helm of the Eliminator you hurtle down the road at break neck speed - there's no accelerate or brake on this game, and just one speed - gigafast. As you will see from the screenshots, this is 'into the screen' scrolling, and the speed and smoothness of the scrolling in Eliminator is excellent. The chequered track fair zooms toward you, and the impression of speed, specially when the road is climbing, descending, or veering left and right, is very impressive.

Hurtling along admiring the scrolling isn't all, however, for on your travels you will encounter many obstacles, which must be either avoided, or, much more fun, blasted, zapped, totalled, and wiped-out. Whatever you want to call it - just keep firing! Waves of aliens will annoy you by weaving and lurching all over the road and firing missiles which will deplete the shield of your Eliminator. And though walls are fairly easy to dodge the 'cones' on level one are a little tricky. Set up in a zig-zag pattern, getting round these entails split-second timing and tons of dexterity.

Of course, a shoot 'em up wouldn't be a shoot 'em up these days if it didn't have the now bog standard 'collect the blob to get a bigger weapon' system, and Eliminator is no exception. Occasionally, a revolving pyramid and cube on opposite sides of the road will be encountered, and only one can be grabbed. The cubes will boost the supply of ammunition, whilst the pyramid will give a bigger weapon. The weapons range from a single fire weapon, right through to a triple fire cannon, which uses tons of ammo dead fast. And it's best to see whether you need ammo or armoury more - before making your choice. There's also the occasional ramp, which will lift you over an otherwise impenetrable wall, or flip you up to the ceiling if in a tunnel section - most disconcerting.

I often find that 'into the screen' 3D limits shoot 'em ups, as there is not much room for manoeuverability on the road, and so trying to shoot at things and steer proves impossible. On first playing I suspected that Eliminator was about to fall into the same trap. Fortunately, after a few plays, the addiction was setting in and Eliminator was proving to be a happy exception. The vehicle has a high level of manoeuverability, there's plenty to shoot at and dodge, and many surprises along the way - you really don't know what's going to appear next.

Hewson has once again released an excellent game with everything a shoot 'em up fan will need - pointless and crap scenario, colourful megafast graphics, edge of the seat excitement and tons of carnage. Simply brilliant!

Hewson maintains its high standards with this rootin', tootin', killin', maimin', shoot 'em up. Not to be missed by arcadey types.

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