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Not Known
1987
Arcade: Maze
£8.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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70
Tony Lee
Chris Bourne

Space, the final frontier... After 20 years, the galactic survey vessel Orion has almost finished its long exhausting mission to map and explore the Hercules Cluster. All that's left is one small nebula. Oh well, think the robotic crew, and put themselves into suspended animation. While they lie dreaming, the principal baddies enter stage right, and take over the ship. When the crew awake, they find the entire ship reprogrammed in a strange alien tongue, and baddies - the Zimen - everywhere. The four crewmen, shagged out after their snooze, must battle against time, traverse 230 rooms, kill the baddies and repossess the ship by logging onto the ship's computer. Each robot has its separate function - captain, navigator engineer and crewman - and different skills, which you'll find out as you play the game. There are loads of tasks to perform, most to do with the ship's computer, where the strange alien lingo has to be decoded. When one of the crew loses its energy it becomes immobilised, and it's up to the other three to save it.

It's a game of two halves (Brian), of which the first is a sub-Knight Lore shoot 'em up, except with infinitely feebler graphics. You switch between characters at any time, and if you find a computer, it can be ENTERED (evil Twilight Zone-type laugh). This second stage is a bit like the Alien game in The Planets, cross with Q-Bert. You move a cursor over various rectangles and pray that something happens. Nothing did when I tried it - I could have been changing joystick option for all I knew.

It's an odd game, really, never quite the sum of its parts. The animation's excellent, but the graphics are uninspiring and gameplay is slow. Screens are mainly monochromatic, though for each character there's a different colour. One irritation is that all the robots look the same - if it weren't for the name at the top, Id be lost! In all, then, an average, overpriced game.

Naff-ish 3-D shoot 'em up. Check first, as the lures of role-playing could prove too much for your pocket!

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