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

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57
Tony Lee
Chris Bourne

There have been a lot of bouncy ball games recently, and I reckon this ranks with the best of 'em! You play a spaceship that's shaped very much like a demented ping pong ball with a window plonked on it. You're supposed to control this by bouncing it around the scenery, but it seemed to have a mind of its own to me.

The object of this weird and wonderful game is to find three setters, A, X and P. that have to be picked up in the right order to make a Latin word (though I doubt the word's AXP). Then you have to take this to the Kinemator! (Eek! Scary muzak) if the letters aren't in the right order the mission, the game and your life are over.

You have three lives to play with, and each one consists of energy bars (kinetic energy, geddit?) that reduce every time you hit a nasty. However, you're not stuck out there defenceless. No chance John. Your help comes in the form of a powder sprayer that shoots nasties and walls, a safety shield that stops you getting zapped, little gadgetmewotzits that turn gravity or anything else to do with physics (such as friction and bounce) off, and a teleporter that can send you to any screen, as long as you have the right code to get there. All is not pLain sailing though, 'cos' there are loads of nasties just waiting to get you. Most, though looking fairly terrifying, do nothing other than deflect or bar you from any object. They also drain your energy slightly, though you can always fill up again at the local lake. Some, however strip you of an item when they touch you, which becomes a bit of a pain after a while.

The buildings and the shrubbery are okay to touch, but if they go red, stay away, or it's instant death. Red cave walls are the exception - they're all right. There are also white circles fixed in the middle of the screen. Don't be fooled, these are realty magnetic and will drag you back towards them.

All in all it's a great game. The animation's smooth and there's little or no colour clash. Firebird is definitely onto a winner here. I've only got one thing to say to anyone who disagrees - spherical objects!

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