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Virgin Games Ltd
1987
Arcade: Action
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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65
Tony Lee
Chris Bourne

You know those Fighting Fantasy books that are all the rage at the moment? Well, Falcon - The Renegade Lord is based on one of these. This leads me to just one question - how can you fit all the stuff from the books into a wee little 48K Speccy? Well, Virgin has certainly had a bash!

The game consists of around eight time zones, totalling around 70 screens. You are Falcon, an agent for TIME (Temporal Investigative and Monitoring Executive), a man who, just Nice all other heroes, is totally perfect in every way. Your job, most of the time, is to patrol the time lanes to ensure that no nasty little baddies pop out of nowhere and muck about with events in history. (just think it they'd appeared in 1066 and shot Harold with a submachine gun!)

In this whizzo game you're pitted against another member of TIME, but this time he's a renegade time lord, and can't be killed. Don't let this gave you delusions about your own immortality though - you can still kick the bucket. This nasty little renegade has an annoying habit of borrowing things out of one zone and leaving them in another. Your misson, should you decide to accept it (and I hasten to add that if you don't, you're dog meat) is to blast oft into unknown time zones, remember where you've parked your craft (cos it blends in with the landscape), and blow away anything that moves (yippee!)

There am two sections - inside and outside your ship. Outside is basically one big shoot 'em up, where you're helped by little T's end little P's that float around the place. The P's make you invincible for a while, and the T's freeze any nasties in the immediate area. You're also equipped with a jetpack, but I found that on several levels it decided to go on strike, leaving me stuck on terra firma, being chased by a Dalek with a duck's head (and no, I haven't gone quackers!)

The inside of the ship is a different kettle of fish altogether. You're faced with the control panel, and (with the help of a squitty little alien spider called Able) you're able to get across to the main computer CAIN (as in Cain and Able - geddit?)

CAIN is a really useful gadget to have around the house, as it can warp you to another time zone, heal all your wounds and tell you about the ship, the time zones and the baddies. There are three missions in all, and all must be completed to finish the game. The only problem, to my mind anyway, is that you're not given enough time - four minutes for a mission ain't long enough!

On my first impression, I found Falcon rather over-priced. Check it out before you buy would be my advice. The sounds non-existant, the graphics are average, the gameplay poor and the addictiveness likewise. I'd stick to the books if I were you - they're cheaper and more enjoyable.

Not a patch on the books and, for a tenner, a touch overpriced. For addicts only.

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