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US Gold Ltd
1992
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£10.99
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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10,11
James Leach
Chris Bourne

I phoned up Yellow Pages yesterday, and they told me that G-LOC stands for G-force, Loss Of Consciousness. Fine. But what does all this nonsense actually mean? Well settle down at the back and I'll happily tell you.

Modern fighter planes whizz around at such speeds that every time they go round even the smallest of corners, the blood rushes away from the pilot's head and to his feet. It might sound a lot of fun, but actually it doesn't do the pilot any good. Without blood, his brain goes a bit wonky and his eyes cease to work. He is then what we doctors call unconscious.

Flying a plane whilst you're unconscious is something only the foolhardy try, so in the the air force, the pilots are taught to scream at the top of their voices when they start to black out. Screaming forces blood back into their heads and they don't pass out. It also frightens anyone in the vicinity to death, Clever. eh?

Now you can fly it at home, kids. G-LOC has hit the Speccy, and hit it real hard. Taken from the rather amazing arcade game, it puts you in an F14 Tomcat (actually, in the blurb you get given at the beginning of the game, they don't call this plane an F14 Tomcat, but I know me aircraft, and I can tell you that it most certainly is an F14 Tomcat and let that be an end to the subject.) Anyway, this, er, plane you're flying is actually from an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle (or the Pacific or somewhere). The idea is simple. You take off, fly around and destroy everything else in the sky, whilst trying to avoid the loss of consciousness bit.

THERE'S BOGIES ALL OVER ME!

Stop sniggering, 'cos bogies are what we fighter types call the enemy. As you chug along in your F14, your radar scope fills with nasty little dots. These are bogies, so you've got to swing from left to right, blasting away with all weapons. More exciting than a trip to the Bourneville Factory!

You've got two sorts of weapons. Hold the fire button down for constant machine-guns, or press it quickly to release homing missiles. These are the best way of taking out enemies - but you only have a limited number and you need a red-lock on your scope before you're assured of a direct hit.

The battle is arranged into 36 waves. In the first wave you must destroy eight aircraft, then you must get ten, them 12 until you get to a ground attack phase which has oil-rigs and stuff to trash.

Although the game is in full 3D, with scrolling ground features and pretty accurate movement, it's not a flight sim as such. There's no taking off and landing, and you can't turn around, climb or dive. You can do a lot of moving around though, which means you can aim your plane at the other fighters buzzing across your display in all directions.

FLIGHT OF THE LOONIES

G-LOC is impressively fast, I must just say that. You get treated to a most pleasant view of your plane flying around, then you get dumped into the flying seat. Before you get a chance to take a deep breath, you're plunged right into the thick of the action. Planes come up from behind, they come from the front, the sides and er, every direction you can think of, with the possible exception of inside. You'll be overwhelmed. It reminded me a bit of that scene from Star Wars where you see about 60 fighters on screen all at once, blasting in all directions. (Well it did remind me of that!)

Luckily the screen update rate is fast enough to cope with this and make it pretty smooth as well. You can have about ten enemies on screen at any one time, which calls for salvoes of missiles and your little fingers holding down the machine-guns as well. Phew, you'll say as you just about manage to get your quota of planes before your plane explodes and you see it from a nifty outside view as it tumbles into the sea. Sadly for you and your next of kin, it's impossible to eject from your knackered plane as it hurtles towards the cold, hard ground. Your only hope is to try and land your stricken plane on a bed factory. It's a slim chance, but you might make it because the part of the Pacc Ocean you're flying over has got loads of floating bed-factories sailing around.

Sound is a bit rudimentary. Clicking and hissing sounds for the machine-guns and the odd explosion are about all you can really expect. It doesn't matter - the graphics more than make up for it.

So, with all this speed, the game is pretty difficult. As you play, you'll learn a technique. There are certain ways of dealing with planes which come in formations head on (it's usually hitting the M key for mega afterburner thrust), and there are manoeuvres you can do to get planes which attack from each side. I'm not going to tell you those though. Let's just say that you have to turn harder than the other planes in order to keep your bullets landing fairly and squarely on them. Clever, eh? Hutch discovered early on, that one of the best ways of consistently beating the enemy planes was to waggle the joystick violently left and right while hammering away at the fire button. Personally, I used a bit more finese and simply launched a bevy of missiles at each convoy. Horses for cannon fodder I guess.

G-LOC is a game you've got to play a lot before you get good enough to really start enjoying it and getting the high scores. It's addictive enough to keep you trying, though and if you're looking for a 3D blast 'em up, then look no further. Anyway, let's face it, all good things take absolutely wodges of practice. For instance Danii Minogue wasn't born with the voice of a goddess, dear me know, she practised for years to sound like her big sister Kylie. However if your idea of sheer joy is to fly fast, fab jets then your quest is at an end and it looks as if you're found a personal Holy Grail which will enrich and rejuvenate your sad, shallow games-playing life. Look, what I'm trying to say is that G-LOC is the game you should buy. I'm off for another go now. What ho chaps!

As fast as you like and as tough as they come. That's me. Oh, and G-LOC is very similar. Bye bye.

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FIVE TOP GUN FACTS

In order to train for the film Tom Cruise had to actually fly a real F14. He nearly crashed it though and got a real telling off from the US Navy.

Tommy actually suffered G-LOC during filming. He had to lie down in his tent for two days afterwards, saying he felt 'a bit tired'. What a big girl.

An F14 costs as much as the entire London Underground System.

But goes a great deal faster.

Er, and uses more petrol.

BLIM!

The biggest plane is a Russian six-jet job called the Mirya. This means dream in Russian. The plane is the same size as the Isle Of Man.

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Fearsome combat-pilot James lines up on another pair of sitting ducks. He grits his teeth and clenches his bot as the enemies open fire. He closes in, targets and missile and foom! A good kill! The other plane banks round straight into the path of James's guns. Another kill!

Achtung! Enemy swine ahead! Give him a taste of British steel, Carruthers! Wait until you see the whites of his foreign little eyes!

What a shot! They don't call me rooty-tooty-accurate-shooty James for nothing, you know. I've got six of the ten planes I need this level.

Break hard right and stay on his tail. Then wait for a red-lock and fire. What could be simpler? (apart from sitting around and watching the telly).

It's at times like these your brain is squashed down inside your skull and your eyes end up in your mouth. Gross, I know, but that's what it's like putting up with seriously high G-forces. So even Tom Cruise wouldn't look like Tom Cruise for long. He'd look like John Merrick.