Yes it's arcade conversion time, usually that part of the day when you load up with hopes high, only to be dashed on the rocks of crummy programming. Oh, and the fact that the original game wasn't much cop in the first place. But not this time. No, no, Nanette. Gryzor's a be of all right.
Okay, picture this. The Durrs from the planet Suna have infiltrated the Earth's defences and set up a base which contains an atmosphere processing plant. With tis they plan to start another ice age and take over the Earth in the ensuing chaos. I can think of better ways of doing it myself (the mind-control techniques of the alien known as 'Paul Daniels' being a case in point), but that's the plan.
Luckily, the people in charge of Earth's defences have got wind of this (oo-er) and have decided to send in everything they have to stop them. His name's Lance Gryzor and he's got enormous muscles and a trendy black headband. Why they didn't just call in the Marines (or a few Leeds supporters) isn't entirely clear, but we're lumbered with ol' Lance.
Still, you're not writing the plot - you just follow orders. So before you can shut down the atmospheric thingumy you'll have to smash through five main types of enemy defence.
The first part's probably the best. It's a sort of Green Beret lookalike, in which you must negotiate a horizontally scrolling landscape riddled with alien guards, gun emplacements and heaven knows worrelse. Shoot supply dumps and you can pick up loads of extra rinky weapons. Make sure you get your fave weapon while you can, 'cos you'll be stuck with it for the rest of the game.
When you've made it to the end of part one, blast a hole in the door and you're onto the second bit, a series of 3D tunnels. Shoot the target at the end of each corridor to move onto the next. Then blow your way through the main entrance, dodging the defences, and you're in...
...Part three. You're getting closer here, but first there's the side of a gorge to climb up. Watch out for falling boulders and rather short-looking aliens.
Next is the first stationary sequence, where you must knock out the zappers and blasters before they zap or blast you. Hard, but challenging. You'll then fight through variations of all these basic formats before reaching the final confrontation with the Alien. Shoot the alien heart for the amazing (hmmm) end-effect.
Graphics are well up to scratch all through the various parts, with some deliciously smooth scrolling, and I'm reliably informed that apart from the omission of the odd exploding bridge or two, Gryzor's about as accurate a conversion as you can get. And with all the different sections to fight through, you certainly get your money's worth.
But what really makes Gryzor stand out from the millions of other conversions of scrolling arcade games with silly names that seem to be pouring forth at the moment, is that this one actually feels like an arcade game. The 128K sound FX and music certainly help to create an atmosphere of fag smoke, fruit machines and leather jackets, something almost unheard of before on a Spectrum.
I don't normally go in for the pumping-lead type of game, but they had to resort to crowbars to drag me away from this one and back into my straitjacket.
Nothing new, but this is one coin-op conversion that really works on the Spectrum.
Slogging through the jungle, with the only light relief provided by a few suicidal aliens. They make some decidedly interesting noises when hit by your gun, which can be upgraded, by the way, when you shoot those little square weapons dumps.
Making your way through the 3D maze, pick off the soldiers as they run across the end, just like a shooting gallery. (Don't mind me - I've always had this bloodthirsty streak!) And watch out for the knee-level rollers!