Reaktor
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£4.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

53
Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

Bats get a bad press. Quite unfairly they always get put down as nasty, flitting about and squeaking a lot. 'Praps that's why they're the enemy in Killer Ring from Reaktor.

Killer Ring is the sort of game to bring a spring to my step and joy to my heart. Remember Space Invaders? Dull, ploddy, but jam-packed with aliens to kill and nothing else. No radars to scan, no fuel-gauge to check, just simple blast, blast, blast. Well, Killer Ring is remarkably similar to that - or Phoenix - except with bats. A lot of them. And it's very fast.

You begin to realise just how simple the game really is when you check out the instructions on the packaging. There aren't any. What you do get is a recipe for K-Ring cup cakes, and very tasty they are too.

The message is simply, an happily: if it moves, shoot it. If doesn't shoot it anyway.

So I joyfully pressed the Fire button and got on with th serious business of bat hunting. And they weren't anything like your ordinary average vampire. These bats fly in waves, preceeded by an Anti-Matter beam, which must be shot through in order to hit anything at all.

As the game claims to get harder each time you play, even when you're on Idiot Level, if you don't can't hack it first time around, you're certainly not going to get much further each time you play. (Personally I think this is just a ruse to make you think you're being really clever when you manage to get past a wave.)

After many, many, increasingly hard waves, you'll reach a spaceman, and the simple requirement where he's concerned is that if you blow his heart out you'll get lots of points and win the game.

Killer Ring is beautifully simple to play. Just stay put and Fire at will. The odd bullet, or perhaps it's a bat dropping, will come your way, but, on the earlier waves at least, these are quite easy to dodge. What you may find disconcerting at first is the enormous amount of bat debris that flies about the place, but don't panic. Bat entrails may be a bit on the unpleasant side, but they won't damage you in any way.

You'll find yourself represented by a gun-sight sort of object, which fires beams from the top and bottom. The odd bat will get past you and fly down behind you. Leave it until it comes up, round and above you and then give him one right on the nose. That'll take care of him, and allows you to progress to the subtleties of the next set of bats.

The graphics are nice an simple. All one-colour - again a very similar sort of effect to Invaders. The bats - which look a bit like frogs (but then I never was very good at biology) - break away from the rest of the bunch one by one and circle round, in a fetching manner, wings outstretched, evil grins on their little faces...

But I digress. What we've got here is a nice straightforward game with continuous shooting and some good music and sound effects too. One happy reviewer.

Label: Reaktor
Author: Tony Crowther
Price: £4.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Space invaders with bats. Turns away from complexity of modern games, and offers wholesome violence.

7/10