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Terry Mayhew
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

One thing to be aware of with Havoc is that the screen pictures on the cover are from the CBM64 version which might be misleading, although there is a note to the fact on the cover.

It is the year 2024 and you are an operative of the World Peace Force (WPF). Being a peace force, you are equipped with a powerful interceptor which flies from its assigned bunker, with which you may deal death and destruction. Mustapha Fracas (the Mad Mullah) has secretly purchased discarded Cruise Missiles (they have a long life) and has declared total war on his enemies. Your task is to intercept and destroy incoming missiles as each one getting through will destroy 10% of your homeland. The screen display is continuously scrolling at about 60 degrees, with your interceptor shown in the centre. It can be moved left or right as well as up and down, height being judged by the shadow on the ground and a level indicator on the left of the screen. The only other instrumentation is a fuel bar at the base of the screen. Refuelling is accomplished by the time-honoured tradition of shooting fuel tanks on the ground. If you hit a missile or a tank, the explosion results in debris, which may be as dangerous as a direct hit. In addition to the missiles and tanks, walls periodically stretch across the flying route with holes or gaps in them, which must be accurately negotiated.

Control keys: Q/A up/down, O/P left/right
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: responsive enough, but sluggish movement overall
Use of colour: poor
Graphics: jerky scrolling, large but undetailed
Sound: poor
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: scrolling


'Havoc is, getting right to the point, a Zaxxon game. It's nowhere near as good as the real arcade game, but is probably the best Spectrum version yet - mind you, I can only think of one other version. Havoc has a 3D effect that is okay but hardly mega-brill, it also flickers quite a lot. Most of the hazards caught me out first time round but on later attempts it was easy to get ready for the holes in the walls etc. This game is just above average in my opinion. The sound is rather limp.'

'Havoc is quite a good 'rip off' of Zaxxon - the arcade mass success. This game does have the 3D angled view to it, but lacks something - maybe the graphic quality and content. While playing this game it became apparent that it lacked considerable content and playability. Graphics did provide quite a good illusion of movement but other than 'side' and 'forward' walls, there isn't much else apart from the odd blue line, drum and missile that scrolls in a straight line and at the same speed as the background. Your craft moves very responsively but not at a fast speed. It also has a fixed shadow which doesn't grow larger or smaller depending on your height. Sound is very poor with only the odd beep here and there. Colour - well with this type of game attribute problems can only be overcome by using two colours, and the end result - only two colours, unattractive and not very appealing. Not a very good buy to say the least, but the best of its type (in the sense of large graphics) at the moment.'

'This Zaxxon style shoot em up lacks excitement through poor graphics and uninteresting content. The enemy missiles sit like stodgy puddings on the ground, moving at the same speed as the scrolling background, which is to say they're not moving at all. And when you hit a target it doesn't disappear. True, there is some debris scattered around, but it's very unsatisfying that the targets are not destroyed properly, just showing an instant scattering of dots around an otherwise intact target seems rather cheap an effect. I didn't think much of it at all.'

General Rating: Somewhat unplayable due to lack of content, also has an unhelpful control selection menu without feedback. Generally below average.