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Pan Books Ltd
Paul Stanley
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 16K

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

YOUR TARGET is Germany's dam system, the object is to blow them out of the water. The result is the destruction of the military and industrial infrastructure of the German war machine.

Dam Busters is not just another flight simulation with added special effects. During the game you have to play the part of the pilot, front and rear gunners, bomb aimer, navigator and engineer. You must do all that while flying through enemy territory, continually lit by searchlights while being buffeted by flak.

You must guide the aircraft off the ground and head towards France and Germany. You will have to liaise with your engineer to make sure that the engine thrust is not to great. If it is the engines will catch fire.

As navigator you must use the maps to pinpoint your position and get the pilot to alter course if necessary. It may appear to be a simple job but you will also have to pilot the aircraft while looking for cities, industrial complexes or dams.

The front and tail gunners have similar jobs. When you get to an enemy complex you must take on their roles and fire at searchlights, balloons and enemy fighters. The pilot should be wary of flying too near towns even if your natural inclination as a gunner is to blow everything to bits.

If you do not keep a keen eye on your instruments you could stall, overheat, fly through enemy soil or end up swimming back to England.

Each crew member has a screen full of instruments which can be controlled by joystick or keyboard. You must look through all of them at regular intervals. The game is not, however, as impossible as it seems. The controls are touch sensitive and the aircraft is easy to fly. Attacks from enemy guns and the glare of the searchlights can be handled quickly if you even have only a few flying hours' experience.

When you have found a dam your approach should be carefully timed. You must have developed the ability to be at 232 mph, have an altitude of 60 feet and be exactly 800 yards from the dam when you drop the bomb. The practice approach available should increase your skill.

Dam Busters is excellent three-in-one entertainment which can be recommended to anyone. Arcade, strategy and simulation addicts will find all they require is just the push of a fire button away.

If you don't want to risk your luck in the air you could always go for the Lancaster kit offer from Airfix, included with the package.

John Gilbert

Publisher: US Gold
Price: £9.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, programmable