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Legend [1]
Strategy: Management
ZX Spectrum 48K

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

In space nobody can hear you scream which is just as well if you intend buying The Great Space Race. It is one of the most vacuous products we have seen and its time that this sci-fi 'epic' was exposed as yet another dose of Legend super-hype.

The loose plot involves a race between space ships, some piloted by user-controlled characters and others by the computer, to deliver consignments of an alcoholic beverage called Natof to as many planets as possible. During the delivery runs characters may indulge in ship-to-ship laser gun butchery or lift the lid on the cargo and arrive at the next port of call in a drunken haze.

At seemingly random times during the game one of the characters may discover the code number of a booby trap bomb which has been hidden on a planet or ship. If you have time to scribble the number and location down before the information is scrolled off the screen you can defuse the bomb in the unlikely event of arriving at the location.

If the game Loads without crashing back into Basic you will immediately see the most attractive aspect of the package. The graphics in which the characters are displayed are in brilliant high resolution which is produced on the screen with the utmost professionalism.

It is, however, a pity that the programmers at Legend do not seem to be able to produce a good animated representation of a space battle. The two ships on the screen look like two mis-shaped fried eggs sliding around in a pan. Legend has taken minimal graphics to new heights.

As for playability, if you want to make a cup of tea or 'phone a distant relative in Australia you can leave the game to play with itself. As with soaps such as Coronation Street or The Archers you can go away and come back without having missed much.

It is incredible that the company which produced Valhalla with interactive characters and real-time action, difficult to program by any standards, could produce such a whimper after the bang. The Great Space Race includes real-time action but if intelligent character interaction does exist within the game it must be hiding somewhere. As for the Natof, the game plays as if it was written under the influence of the stuff.

John Gilbert

Memory: 48k
Price: £14.95