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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

Yes, I know what you're wondering. Not whether it's any good or not, not even whether it's got 'NEW RELEASE' plastered all over the cover as usual (it has), but what Diddy David Darling has to say about his own game. So I quote, "Technically brilliant, ultra-fast, infuriatingly addictive, MEGA blat 'em up! WICKED!"

Nothing like a bit of solid unbiased criticism there - indeed, there's nothing like solid unbiased criticism in the wonderful world of Code Masters. Now - do you want to know what the game's really like?

Actually - and as usual it pains me to say this - it's not bad at all. The Hit Squad is a neat, fast, multi-screen shoot 'em up with colourful, intentionally obtrusive graphics and massive sprites. I say "intentionally obtrusive" because your character often has to walk behind them, which means that you can't see a thing and can be easily harmed by the marauding nasties. The idea is to collect a teleport ticket on the 12 levels which will enable you to get to the next level, while collecting any other goodies that happen to be lying around. It's called The Hit Squad because you have a choice of four people to be, each of whom has different weapons (when they pick up enough weapon tokens). The four are nicely represented by a digitised pic before the game begins.

All very well, and it's a nice variation on a million other games, but sadly it's no more than that. As with most later Code Masters games you're swiftly seduced by splendid graphics - far better thought out and more Spectrummy than, indeed, Rygar - but the gameplay does pall after a while. Still, this game has one enormous advantage over other recent Code Master titles - no pix of the ghastly Darling brothers. If only for that, this game gets my vote.