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Pandora
1987
Arcade: Maze
£8.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

35
Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

You're the best. More than the best. The bestest. That's why you get the messy jobs. Like infiltrating the stronghold of a top enemy commander and rescuing three fellow saboteurs. Like blagging all the commander's loot along the way. Like wasting the seemingly infinite number of guards that're chasing after you. And then blowing up the whole shebang by setting off a series of detonators. It'll need the super-dooper-ding-dong-bestest saboteur on the team just to get past the firstest hurdle.

This is the background to your mission - growing troop movements (can't they get that seen to?) have been detected in what was previously considered a strategically unimportant area. Three spies were sent in, but although they were the best, they weren't quite best enough to avoid getting caught. This is where you come in (points at door).

Into The Eagle's Nest is the first game on Interceptor's new Pandora label, and it's no more than a huge excuse for another version of Gauntlet. Out go the wizards, spells and all that mystic bilge, and in come the atmospherics of an Alastair Maclean-type war film, probably starring Gregory Peck - but it's still the big G under any other name. The sprites are much larger and the backgrounds more detailed, and if there's any substantial difference between the two, it's one of emphasis. Gauntlet's one of the best and most addictive shoot 'em ups moolah can buy. Into The Eagle's Nest needs a little more strategy, and much more care.

For example, you start with just 99 rounds of ammo. Although you can restock fairly regularly, you're never in a position to spray bullets around in the luxurious way you could in the Glove. Similarly you can't let yourself get hit all the time, 'cos you'll be deader than dead - deadest, in fact - within seconds. Your 50th hit will be your last, and that's norralot when you're battling through this game. Keep clear of the guards, fire at a distance (it's just as effective) and use any cover provided.

Of course, with all this scenery and detail, it's no great shock that Eagle's Nest is a touch smaller than its forbear - eight levels takes much longer to complete, and may need revisiting, especially if you're planning to escape. As you move around the maze, you pick up keys (to open doors), ammo (15 round a time) and occasionally you'll find cold food and first aid to pep you up. Paintings and valuables are spread around - sometimes visible, often hidden in crates. Explosives are everywhere, and if you get that far, you'll eventually use them to blow up the castle. But they're also liable to go up, taking you with them, if you shoot at them - another food reason for being careful. On most floors there are detonators - fire at them as you pass, 'cos when you've zapped the last one you've not got long to escape before the whole place goes west. (That's the plan, y'see.)

It's all great fun, and a worthy addition on what's already a classic theme. It's nowhere near as fast as Gauntlet, but it's harder and more challenging. And it's fun to be zapping Nazi stormtroopers for a change (look at the cover if you don't believe me). So drop those wizard togs and let's hit those huns, ehm chaps?

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A plateful of nosh takes ten hits off your wound tally. There aren't many per level - check where they appear and come back for 'em when they're needed.

While the explosives make good cover, don't under any circumstances fire at them - you'll be blown to atoms by the explosion. And remember there's only one life in this game!

One shot will kill a guard, at least in the easier version. Guards don't fire at you, they just attack when they've caught up with you. Their movements are entirely predicatble, so you can work out surefire ways of keeping yourself out of their reach.

Keys open doors - yep, such are the miracles of modern technology. There aren't that many of the critters scattered about, and you can't afford to ignore them, so don't.

Each ammo cartridge has 1 rounds of instant death for you to dish out. You can only carry 99 rounds at a time - pick up any more and you'll just waste it.

Save the First Aid kit for when you're in real stuck - it'll wipe out all the hits you've sustained and leave you healthy and glowing, full of beans and probably toast as well.