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Gareth Baker
Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Linda Barker
Chris Bourne

My friends responsible for checking the safety of the cases that they put all the nuclear waste in. Did you know that each person makes enough nuclear waste in a lifetime to form into a large glass ashtray? If this ashtray was placed in a lead box, it would produce enough heat to fulfil all your requirements. My friend insists that its all perfectly clean and safe and I remain unconvinced. I'd rather plug the old Speccy into the electricity rather than place the lead gingerly near the big lead box.

Hideous is the tale of one man on a mission to save the world from nasty radioactive mutations. These beings weren't always horribly disfigured. It was mankind that made these once peaceful beings into a destructive, man-hating race. Y'see, all those clever-clog scientists thought they could solve the world's fuel problem by developing a new kind of radiation. But these top scientists aren't as intelligent as they like to think and, instead of coming up with a mild form of radiation that could soften carrots at five hundred yards, they invented a wholly new kind of power. Delta Radiation was so strong that it burst through the feeble walls of the reactor and started to seep into the ground. (Obviously my friend wasn't around to check the casings!) Soon, instead of ants and worms and things, people were finding what looked like B- movie escapees in their rose beds. (The roses themselves were unaffected.)

Not content with ruining carefully planned gardens from Eastbourne to Whitby, these creatures decided that they had to lay waste to earth and the entire human race. Their first step was to take over the underground nuclear complex which you have to infiltrate. To save the world you're going to have to find some lumps of lead and place them in the reactor - thus making it safe. In time, the prehistoric-like worms will return to their natural shape and size and the rose beds of Purley will bloom once more.

On loading up Hideous the first remark you make will probably be, "They don't look very hideous."" Why? Because they don't. Hideous mutated things have loads of teeth and eyes, their skin is oddly coloured and often peeling. One thing they do not look like is mini-spaceships. The graphics, and the gameplay, remind me of all those maze-type games that we've had on our covertapes from time to time. (Klimax is the one that springs immediately to mind.)

Theoretically, the gameplay is disarmingly simple. Wander round rooms avoiding, or shooting, mutants, find the lead, take it to the reactor, save the world. As is usually the case, in practice it's a lot more difficult. There are four levels and 30 screens to each level. As you can see from the map of the first level, that's quite a lot of wandering. The mutants get braver and braver as time goes on, by Level Three they actually start firing back at you. Ants alive! Have they no respect for human sanctity. Well no, they're cold-blooded you see. As well as shooting aliens, refuelling and getting all that lead you'll also have to find your way around. This is the tricky bit as lots of rooms are blocked off by strange lasers or blocks that you can't move. There are ways around this, like using the smart bombs, but you could be placing yourself in danger.

Unfortunately, there isn't really enough to Hideous, and what there is is a tad dated. There's nothing horribly wrong about this game, nothing to make you throw the whole thing aside. On the other hand there's nothing brilliant either, nothing to make you sit in front of the Speccy 'til dawn. Hideous is fun while it lasts, but thats simply not long enough.

Uppers: You can have fun with Hideous. With a grand total of 120 screens, there's enough here to keep you occupied for a while. Downers: Unfortunately, Hideous just hasn't got that 'more, more, more' factor that makes games so darn addictive. Pleasant enough maze-y pushy block-y kind of game that's, sadly, too dated to be brilliant.


Banner Text

Make your own nuclear bomb in five easy steps

1) Work hard at school and go to university and do a degree in applied physics. Work hard at university, get your degree. Do a Ph D in nuclear physics.

2) Get a lob at British Nuclear Fuels to gain experience. Get a job at the Ministry of Defence in the bomb department and keep your eyes open. Learn all you can.

3) Buy some oven gloves, some uranium (available from incredibly naughty mine owners), tongs, a handkerchief, a large tin dustbin and a nuclear warhead. Put the oven gloves on your hands, the handkerchief over your mouth and the uranium in the bin with some water. (Make sure you use the tongs.) Put the lid on the bin and shake well. Leave it overnight in a cool place away from direct sunlight and strong smells.

4) Get up in the morning and visit the bin. The mixture should be bubbling away. Pour it gently into the nuclear warhead. You have a bomb.

5) Nonchalantly sing loads of David Bowie songs whilst you carry your nuclear bomb to work to show the guys in the office.

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1. A handy computer terminal. Bump into these to get info on the reactor, and to repair your shields. Hurrah!

2. You. Erm, it's actually a tanky thang, but you're probably inside it, or something. Shoot that red A next to you to get extra ammo.

3. The reactor itself. You need nine lead blocks to stop that nasty radiation from leaking all over the neighbours.

4. Your fuel level. Keep an eye on this - it has a habit of running out at critical moments. Eek! (Shoot the blue F's to prevent this.)