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Quicksilva Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Chris Bourne

With a title like Gridrunner you might well imagine you are in TRON land, back with the light cycles, but you would be wrong. This new game from the genius of Uamasoft is really a variation of the centipede theme.

A bright red grid fills the screen, little white cursors move up the sides, apparently doing nothing, another zips along the base, firing zizag lasers up the screen, and you think that must be you (you're wrong again). A blue squiggle-dash creature speeds horizontally along the grid lines, descending one line at a time, unless it gets hit by the laser thingie, in which case it splits up, each segment going its merry way. Then you realise little yellow dots are appearing here and there. It takes a few more seconds before it dawns on you that the side ship is firing these into the screen. If the blue centipede hits them it changes direction instantly - of course, they're mushrooms! Finally, when a segment of blue reaches the bottom line and collides explosively with the quiet, unmoving little green ship, you wake up to the fact that it was you.

The main problem is that there are no instructions either on the inlay or on screen. Fortunately the three lads who reviewed this game are experienced Spectrum thumpers, so trial and error soon established that Q/A gives you up/down and I/P gives you left/right with 0 to fire. Had they their AGF or Protek interfaces plugged in it wouldn't have been a problem.

The object of the game is very similar to centipede. Your ship (the green one) can move left and right as well as up the screen for about a third of the height.

The ship on the side hurls obstructions in the way of the centipede which rushes along like a runaway intercity, changing direction should it hit one. It takes several of your laser blasts to get rid of the obstructions, and, as in centipede, your laser can take out segments of the monster, dividing its attentions to alternate sides of the screen. The other ship at the base also destroys bits of the centipede, as well as you if you happen to be in the way. And that 's about it.


The game is quite difficult because of the speed, but it does not inspire the player to keep playing.'

'The unchanging graphic of each screen quickly made it boring, although it was fun at the start. There 's such a lot going on, and it's all very fast, but then you get into the rhythm and it becomes easy - in the end, too easy.'

Keyboard positions: sensible
Joystick options: AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: difficult to control, very fast
Use of colour: average
Graphics: small, not much imagination used
Sound: average
Skill levels: one
Lives: Five, with five more added as grids cleared
General Rating: Gridrunner is not very exciting nor it is addictive, and at almost £7, it's poor value for money.