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1987
Arcade: Action
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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45
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Arrgeekoooee! I'm hysterical because I'm late for a date with Gwyn and he said he wouldn't forgive me after last time. Can anybody come to my rescue?

Perhaps Software Projects can because it's got its own form of Hysteria going on, and it's all because somebody has been messing around with the flow of time... hey, do you think Gwyn will accept that as an excuse? I thought not, but If I explain that I've been hooked on saving the temporal flow, that's a different matter.

Hysteria isn't the year's most original game. It's another of those walk-along shooting the nasties, with the addition of a weapon changing feature. You don't even get the multi-levels that gave Green Bert his ups and downs.

But you do get a well-judged game play and enough neat touches to make Hysteria really stand out. From the multitude of options, which include sound or silence and mono or colour graphics, to the hall of fame with its twisting letters, you'll be totally hooked.

It takes time to get time straightened out, and you have to start early (around 3,000 BC), strolling past pillared temples. Then skip to days of old when knights were bold and an Englishman's castle was his home. After that it's into space for a touch of the R2D2s.

The time warriors and their assorted monsters don't take too kindly to the fact that you want to sort out their evil deeds, and before you can say 'time-warp' they'll be popping up from nowhere and trying to wrap you up. All the monsters are relevant to their eras, so the ancient scene sets you against centaurs.

You don't really start out equipped for the job either, with only a shield, which has limited power, and a short range sonic head-butt. But you do have the power to transform ordinary objects into further weaponry. What further objects? The answers a lemon, worm!

Yes, walk over one of the worms which surface from time to time, or shoot a gargoyle and turn it into a lemon, then leap or fly into it, and your weapon indicator will move up one notch. You can select that weapon or carry on until you're entitled to something even more powerful. You can even use multiple powers in some cases!

As you progress, certain nasties will leave behind a jigsaw piece, and once you've collected enough of these a picture of your arch-enemy for the level will appear, at which stage a mega-sprite enters and flies around, shooting at you. Killing it is no easy task but success brings in a bonus and takes you to the next era.

There's nothing that you haven't seen before but it doesn't matter because this is such a well-judged program, it's got the magic JOMG (Just One More Go) Factor. If this was a coin-op machine I'd be bankrupt by now. Instead it's in my Spectrum and it's making me late for dates but so what? Save the hysterics for real problems - like losing yet another life! Oogragghheeeooo!

Well-balanced march and blast game with so much chrome it could dazzle you. Stay calm and play it.

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You can have the landscape in colour but we prefer monochrome to give you the edge when it comes to spotting worms.

Your wings are clipped as you use them and there's a time limit on the slave weapons too. Watch it run out here.

Flying is probably most useful on later levels when the ground becomes rather full, but you'll miss out on those worms if you don't walk.

In these three windows pictures appear to show your progress, then fade as strength ebbs. Your portrait shows your power while the shield should be self-explanatory. Your foe's face grows as you collect the jigsaw pieces then fades as you destroy the mega-sprite.

There are two slave weapons available. The first one is a spinning disc while the second provides fill cover with three circling orbs. Try to have them ready when you meet the mega-sprite.

Of the two shooting options your first priority should be to obtain the ranged blaster. Walk to the left on the first screen to find a couple of lemons almost immediately.