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Beyond Software
1985
Tactical Combat
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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22
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

'Warning. Orbit decaying rapidly.' "Oh no!" 'Helm still not responding.' "Where's Zoff?" Meanwhile... An escape pod blasts off from the ship... 'ROM parity error. Support systems failing. Locate and neutralise Zoff.' "Hold on!"" KERR-ASHHH!!!!

Yes, they're back - the Enigma Team, the intergalactic good guys (and gal) who didn't so much marry the micro game and movie as combine the computer adventure with the comic book. Can't you just see them in the poorly printed pages of Marvel? Here they are again, along with arch enemy and all round baddy, General Zoff. (No Jemimah - that's not a Bulgarian insult. Why don't you Z... off!')

While escorting said dictator to face the emperor's wrath (and a long term in imperial chokey), he lets go a mighty psionic blast. Which just goes to show, they should never have let him near the pickled eggs. As the ship circles out of control, he ejects. And when the team wakes up they find their numbers reduced to five. So, as they say in all the best comics, roll call. There's Zark, Sevrina, Syylk and Maul... plus you as the team leader. Will those four, under your command, be able to recapture Zoff?

The action takes place in the subterranean complex beneath the capital of Syylk's home world. However that old platitude 'There's no place like home' is less than apt as the planet is wracked by warfare. In the good corner, the home team are the insectoid inhabitants, while their opponents are reptiles, loyal to Zoff. It's into this battlezone that the ship has crashed and the first task may well be to locate the chief insect, Big Bluebottle, and make friends.

Meanwhile Zoff will be making for an escape craft and safety, and that's hidden in the reptiloid zone (Didntcha just know it!). But first he'll need his passport to freedom - the Zoffcard (don't leave home without it.) And as if that wasn't enough the arrival of republican destructor bugs is imminent, all ready to eliminate the planet once and for all, so there's no hanging around to admire the view.

The most obvious difference between this and its predecessor, Shadowfire, is that now the action is happening right there before your very eyes - and in the glories of wide screen too! The icons are still there for you to pass on your commands, but now when you tell Syylk to go left, you'll actually see him do it in full animation. The subterranean chambers are effectively done and there's a reasonable sense of frenzied action in the battle scenes. Best though is the opening music, the Enigma Team theme, and the spot effects.

As before there's a lot of strategy involved to use each character to your best advantage. And not only have they got minds of their own, not placing themselves in positions of obvious danger, but they also have individual characteristics which shape their behaviour. There's a lot to find and use properly if you're to recapture Zoff. And if you try to do anything without making a map then you deserve to get as lost as you undoubtedly will!

Speaking personally, I must confess that my reaction to the game wasn't overwhelming but there's no denying that the Enigma Team is a great concept and there's certainly nothing wrong with the program. I'm sure that fans of Shadowfire will soon become absorbed.

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Banner Text

Zark Montor - the head of Enigma Team, he's more machine than man, making a real toughie. Choosing his icon here places him under your command.

Syylk - a smoothie with a pathalogical hatred of Zoff and high stamina and heavy armour to back it up. Though the screen's as yellow as he is, it's no sign of cowardice - just that he's currently under command.

Maul - not to be mistaken for a flying hamburger, this droid can have a devastating effect with his weaponry. Below these icons is a space to record any sequences of commands entered.

The flashing box indicates that this icon to move left is currently under the cursor.

Muscle beach? No, just an indication of strength remaining for the character in play. A written status report is available by choosing the icon below the right arrow.

Here's where the contents of an area appear. Once you've decided to pick something up you then choose what here. Once it's done it'll appear in your personal inventory in the next section.

No there aren't any brief cases in the game - these two icons indicate pick up and drop, but you'll need to use them in conjunction with the inventories.

The colour of the bullet here indicates how much ammunition is lefty for the current character. It's worth keeping an eye on this and using the icon below to reload whenever it goes red.

Avon calling! No, not a door bell but an activate or enter icon. You'll need to build the command by stating what you're activating from your inventory then. And if you didn't mean to set those explosives there's always the Oops command to erase your error.

At times a futile, heroic sacrifice is needed. Then this is the icon for you as it transfers total control of the character to you so that they're moved by the joystick alone.

There are two battle strategies. The double arrow is a general melée but the single one creates singularity of mind in hounding a chosen individual to the death. Useful for when you locate Zoff.