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1989
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

88,89
Jackie Ryan
Chris Bourne

Hoo hoo hoo! Ha ha ha! Well I'll say one thing for Gemini Wing, it's got a jolly good scenario going for it if nothing else. According to the blurb, after several centuries of reading "little green men made love to me and then turned me into a potato" stories invented by Soonday Spirit hacks, the rest of the inhabitants of this rather enormous universe of ours were understandably getting slightly peeved. So when the crazed headline writer flipped and came up with "Die Mutant Alien Scum" as the front page lead story for the early edition one Tuesday, the clamour of outrage from aliens everywhere was a little loud.

Hordes of them set out for our shores prepared for battle, thinking they'd trash us easily. But little did they reckon on the ingenuity of Earth's weapon scientists - for they have invented the Gemini Wing, the ultimate fighting machine!

So far so good, eh, Spec-chums? But hold it right there, 'cos unfortunately once you've finished reading the scenario and actually booted up the game, the fun ends and the frustration begins.

Gemini Wing is a multi-level, vertically scrolling, monochrome shoot 'em up. which just doesn't measure up as a full price release I'm afraid. You get to pilot a Gemini Wing fighter and must fly along a vertically scrolling background using the old left, right, up, down, fire control system, blasting and dodging all the armed aliens (Mutated Butterflies, Flying Beetles and Giant Salmon) in your path.

At the start of the game you can kill the aliens by either pumping the fire button like mad for a constant stream of cannon fire, or holding it down for a while and then releasing it for a massive blast of gunball power. The aliens you're up against carry a huge array of weaponry. But they carry them in the form of gunballs too, so once you've totalled them (which isn't very hard to do), picking up their lost gunballs is a must. To do this simply fly over them in your craft, and, jumping Jiminey, the extra weaponry (like extra firepower, smart bombs, extra lives and the windscreen wiper of death) appears like magic in the side panel on the right hand side of your screen.

Unfortunately, it's impossible to use your extra weaponry gunballs intelligently, as the game doesn't allow you to choose what extras you can use and when. Instead you find that when you go to use these extras, you are only able to release the weapon which is at the top of your list (that's on the right hand side of the screen, remember).

The only way Gemini Wing might have dug itself out of its grave would have been if it was a really good ducking and diving blasterama. Unfortunately, even here it fails 'cos though your fighter moves well around the screen, and responds quickly to your commands, the monochrome graphics and backgrounds mean it's incredibly difficult to follow the action. More than once I found myself losing track of my fighter, as it got lost amongst the explosions in a particularly vital fracas. And when it did reappear again (luckily unscathed) I was often concentrating so much on finding my Gemini Wing again that I couldn't look around to see what else was coming at me further up the screen.

Its confusing colouring and pretty inadequate gameplay make what could have been a quite good shoot 'em up... um... a not very good shoot 'em up at all. Only for die hard addicts methinks.

A hard-to-see shoot 'em up. Good scenario, shame about the game.

45%
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