Vortex Software
Costa Panayi
1985
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

32,33
Ross Holman
Chris Bourne

ROAD RUNNER

Beep, beep! Vortex's new game, Highway Encounter goes on the road. Join Ross Holman as he follows the Highway code...

If you're looking for originality, it starts here. You've got four lives but don't expect them to sit patiently at the bottom of the screen - they're coming with you!

Here they are lining up behind the Lasertron as the master Vorton looks on. And as soon as they're off, get ready to roll yourself - you'll be riding shotgun on the road to Zone zero.

Your Vortons have run slap bang into the first barrier. You can move the oil drums by pushin' or shootin' 'em, but it's an idea to leave your troops behind them.

With the Vortons tucked up safely, you can advance alone into the next zone. There the first aliens are ready and wailing to be blasted into oblivion.

Enter this zone on the central track and prepare for battle. Three one eyed aliens come straight for you but they're pretty thick and can only move in straight lines until they hit something.

Take out the first one, then rotate to one side and catch another on the run. The last one plus a fourth straggler can be picked off as they return to this zone.

Here it's a case of the immovable objects meeting the irresistible force. The glass cubes can't be moved, so you've either got to go round them or through the gap in the middle.

Great balls of fire. Vortons aren't flameproof so steer clear of the flickering torches.

Here you'll have to use some Knightlore type tactics of moving objects around the screen. It's the only way to clear a safe passage up the middle of the road for the Lasertron.

If you let any aliens escape alive, go back and get 'em. They'll only cause trouble later if you get soft-hearted about zapping them in the back.

Push the two barrels between the pulsating mines and the brick columns. Then a few quick spurts on the laser and another sector's made safe.

First time out, it's an idea to build up confidence by taking cover behind the wall and zapping the aliens as they come past. Or you can always use the barrel as a shield. Sneaky that!

Meet the two-eyed aliens! It's an idea to fire off a few bursts from the previous zone to pick some of them off before you enter this screen. C'mon, make my day punk!

Stay cool and stop as soon as you enter the zone - then you can shoot the aliens in a calm and calculated fashion. And watch out for the tiles - you can't run over them but they make the aliens bounce a bit.

The eyes have it. Usually this zone's full of the two-eyed terrors, so wipe them out pronto. Move to either edge of the road and fire along it - they'll meet their deaths like lemmings.

Release the mine by shooting away one of the stacks and then push or shoot the other one so that the mine's trapped against the wall.

At last, an easy screen! Just watch out for the aliens and power on through.

It's all been a summer holiday up till now - from here on the meanies get really mean. Fire into the next zone to zap a few before going in - you'll hear when you hit one.

It's a good idea at this point to belt on back to the beginning and collect your spare lives and the Lasertron. They'll be safe here behind the barrels.

As you enter this zone, you'll find there'll still be a couple of aliens waiting to shoot their mouths off at you. Stay still and blast them as they move towards you.

Be extra careful if you're on your last life especially if you're pushing the Lasertron. If you're not exactly on the centre line, you'll have had your chips. Line up the centre line with the groove on the Vorton's back.

No through road! If you don't want to go to the wall, you can blast the brickwork between the flames before trekkin' on through.

A really nice touch and one that sets it apart from the Ultimate games, is that you can move objects and fire from one screen into another. But be careful if you fire behind you - you won't know what you've moved till it's too late.

It's a real doddle to deal with these mines. Shoot the right hand barrel so that the two mines are bouncing off it. Then shift it over to the left side of the road to trap them.

Don't get too trigger happy here - you can only shift the blocks by shooting them and you don't want to move them too far, do you?

It's not too tricky to trap the mines once you've used the block on the left to capture the first one Practice makes sort of perfect.

There's an alien here - a particularly vicious disc - but he's playing hide n' seek inside the blocks. A sort of out of sight out of mined!

Now you can either release the nasty and hope you do it to him before he does it to you or you can be sneaky! Blast one of the blocks so you can just see the disc, then move up on the diagonal and destroy it.

If you make it to this screen on the third time round, you'll really know what it feels like to sweat.

The discs are definitely the deadliest of your enemies so it's an idea to do the dirty on them from a safe distance - like the preceding screen.

If you raced through the last screen, you may still find some discs here. And boy, are they mad. Use the glass cubes for cover but be careful that they don't block your shots.

Cooeee, Mr Shifter. You'll need these barrels in the next zone, so don't hang about drinking cups of tea - get shifting!

This screen's all down to trial and error - and you can expect to make plenty of errors before getting it right. Go on, have another go - just one for the road!

Oh, very tricky - diagonally moving mines! Your best bet is to trap them against the left wall with from the previous zone.

Stick to the centre and the first two aliens will zoom past giving you just enough time to stop and shoot 'em. Hah!

This is a good place to beetle off back down the highway and collect the Lasertron and your spare lives - if you've got any left, of course.

Rumours that these aliens were based on Troubleshootin' Pete are completely unfounded. But watch that mouth move!

Make sure this isn't one bridge too far for you - beware the bigmouths on the bulwarks!

Use the barrels and a pile of bricks to back the mines up against the wall. You can't destroy them, so just keep them out of harm's way.

Keep that central zone clear. The Lasertron and the spare Vortons never deviate from the centre path, so make sure nothing comes in their way.

Now you're getting close but this is the calm before the storm. Best to take a breather here before the final onslaught.

Luckily the aliens are pretty gormless in this zone. Put the brakes on just past the raised tiles and pick off as many of the daft aliens as. possible.

To trap the mine you'll need to bring a pile of blocks from Zone 7 and then indulge in a spot of diagonal firing. Make sure you trap the mine on the left or your Lasertron won't go through the gap.

That great discus-thrower in the sky is at it again. Use that old technique of firing down the left hand edge.

Roll out the barrel - or rather blast them onto the next screen where they'll come in useful.

See what I mean! The best tactic here is to push the right hand barrel up the right edge and fire it diagonally towards the top of the screen to block two or three of the mines.

You'll need more barrels to form road blocks here, so nip into Zone 1 and bring them back here.

The end's in sight. Take a quick butchers then bomb off back up the road to collect the Lasertron

First things first - take care of the discs before doing anything else. And don't forget to take the barrels back to the previous zone.

Made it! Just get the Lasertron on the square and it's all over for the alien invaders

Now you can see just how dumb these one-eyed devils really are. They line up and form a guard of honour as the Lasertron goes on it's deadly mission.

The alien spaceship just doesn't stand a chance. But the aliens have one last trick up their sleeve - as soon as the ship's disintegrated, you'll find yourself right back at zone 30 for another go. The only difference is that this time the enemy's even faster and much, much meaner.

Not Rated

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ROAD HOGS

The cyclops aliens shouldn't cause too many problems. They only change direction if they hit something.

Eye, eye. These are much nastier as they're programmed to change direction after a random time.

Heard the one about the wide-mouthed frog? - these are related. They change direction after very short random times.

Naaasty. The discs bob and weave and give the impression they they can home in on you.

If you try to shoot the brick walls they just crumble, slowly disintegrating into thin air.

You can move the barrels by pushing or shooting them.

The blocks can only be moved by shooting them. Nobody pushes them around.

If you let an alien pass you by, don't be at all surprised if your lives start disappearing while you're not even on the same screen.

Pow, pow, power. You've only got three shots at any one time but they replenish as soon as each one makes contact.

And if you think it still looks easy, just remember that you have to do it all against the clock!