Quicksilva Ltd
1986
Arcade: Action
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

18
Chris Bourne

Joining the 'Silent but Deadly' squadron is not a good idea if you're looking for a quiet life. Any dirty jobs going, and you get it.

This one looks particularly nasty. A bunch of arms dealers called the Abraxas Corporation, with few scruples and 'no questions asked, John', are causing a bit of a problem. So the World Council, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that the Abraxas Corporation has got to go, and the lads at the good old SBD squadron are the ones to do it. 'I mean, boys, we'd do it ourselves, but what with the island being made of plastic and therefore invisible to radar, we thought we'd give you the honour.

When our brave chaps get to the island, they discover that some joker from the armoury section has been taking a little practical mickey. Instead of a rather fast jet and a couple of nice thermonuclear jobs, you've ended up with a convertible hang glider and a handful of grenades. Terrific.

Fortunately Abraxas has designed its plastic island with lots of nice hills scattered all over it. So the technique is to zip around the island with the hang glider cunningly disguised as a motor bike. Then scoot down a handy hill, and launch into the air by quickly reversing the direction of movement.

The object of the mission is to bomb everything in sight on the island. Unfortunately, things can only be bombed from the air, and as soon as you take to the ether, the local laser opens up - thus draining energy. Our hero starts his quest with 100 energy points; at zero, he's a goner; and he can become shark food if any careless flying is done over the sea.

The trick is to head-butt a radio mast - this makes the local laser base go a bit loco - then take to the skies quickly before the laser gets itself sorted out and bomb the reactor which tends to be very close to the laser base.

There are ten of these reactors scattered around the island, all of which have to be taken care of in half an hour, otherwise the rescue sub takes off, leaving our hero stranded. Stockpiles of grenades have been left lying around the place to which he can help himself whenever he likes. Well, they are arms manufacturers, so you would expect to be able to put your hands on a bit of ordnance when needed.

The screen display is in the now customary 3D perspective with the action flipping from screen to screen as necessary. The graphics depict the main base complex, including the factory, and the wooded surroundings of the base which contain the reactors you are out to destroy along with plenty of hills to launch the hang glider. On the ground, four direction controls move the motorbike in the corresponding four directions. When in the air, left and right tum the hang glider, and forward and back cause it to climb and dive. On touching the ground the hang glider reverts to its motorbike form.

CRITICISM

'Good news first. Glider Rider has nicely drawn graphics (and a great tune if you own a 128). After that, I'm afraid, it's a bit of a disappointment. Once the technique of hitting a nearby radio mast, finding a convenient slope and taking off is mastered, the game is rather dull. Whether you can actually take off when you try seems entirely random. It's a nice idea, a lot of trouble has gone into the graphics and the animation of the character is good, but I just can't rate it that highly, because it's practically unplayable.'

'For those depraved non-128K/Plus 2 owners out there, Glider Rider is a fun sort of game, and worth checking out, as the concept, playability and addictiveness are all very good. When playing the soundless 48K version, I was reasonably happy with it, but it's the sound of the expanded version that really makes it top notch - on the 48K it's merely good.'

'I'm not overly impressed with this offer from Quicksilva since it isn't half as playable as it could have been. Because the playing area is nice, large and easy to get lost in and the blurb on the inlay sets the scene very well, on your first go it's very easy to get right into the spirit of the game. The graphics are very good - the playing area excellently drawn and so is your character. There's very little flicker and next to no colour clash as well. Unfortunately, sound on the 48K machine is limited only to the odd spot effect - it's brilliant on the 128K version. On the whole I found it very hard to get anywhere in Glider Rider and I suspect it will need a lot more practice to complete it than I have time for.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: re-definable
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair or Cursor
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: excellent
Sound: poor on the 48K, but superb tunes and FX on the 128K
Skill levels: 1
Screens: 100
General Rating: A bit of a let down for faithful 48K-ers but still a well above average and original game.

86%
90%
79%
76%
77%
79%
80%

Screenshot Text

Up, up and away. You've taken out one reactor - the broken eggshell in the foreground - but now a laser tower's getting shirty...

On yer bike! Scoot round the enemy industrial complex, find a nearby hill and go into glider mode.