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Compass Software
Jon R. Lemmon
1989
Adventure: Text
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

64
Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

Compass has produced some excellent titles in the past, like the Demon From The Darkside trilogy, but in its new game, Intruder Alert, the theme is space, the final frontier, where you boldly go and get to utter those immortal words "Beam me up, Twonk". Twonk? Yes, well, we'll come to Twonk in a minute.

There's a neat intro screen giving a great sense of the depth of space, then a dramatic fanfare greets you in the first location -- okay, as much of a dramatic fanfare as the Speccy can manage. But it really sets the scene well, especially as you discover that you're in a space ship heading straight for a space station and "you have no control over this vessel! Exits: none". Blumin' 'eck. Examine the control panel in front of you and there's a flash as something seems to short-circuit and it's "Another go? Y/N" time already.

The sound and visual effects (and the game is full of them) show that author Jon Lemmon is really trying to get the most out of PAW - and showing just what can be done. There's more drama with the HELP function, and even the RAMSAVE gives you a squeak to let you know it's been done.

If you survive the impending collision at the start, you're beamed aboard the space station where your job is to explore it then get yourself down to the nearby planet and find out what's going on before a meteor strikes. Something's destroyed the satellite link to Earth and you (Captain Garth Conard) have been sent out to investigate, and... oh, you know the kind of thing.

First you have to deal with Twonk though. He's a robot of very little brain - in fact, no brain at all unless you can repair him. Sadly my first attempt only succeeded in blowing his head up. Sort him out and you can then talk to him, although he's not a very good conversationalist but might be able to beam you up and down to the planet beneath... if you can tell him the co-ordinates he needs.

The parser could have been better. You don't often get a response to EXAMINE and I spent ages trying to fix a broken lift before hitting on the right command - all the ones I'd tried meant the same thing, but had no effect. There are a few spelling mistakes (like 'meltted' and 'ventalation') but no bugs that I could find, which is more important.

Intruder Alert is a very professionally produced adventure, the first of two parts, and keeps up Compass' high standards. Nice to see the price kept down to £1.99 as well. Screen layout is excellent, neat graphics - so what more do you want, blood? Just buy it, and claim your free Twonk with every game.

7/10
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