Legend [1]
Not Known
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

Chris Bourne

It seems that the trouble began when some dotty scientists realised that the object hurtling into our galaxy was not a bit of space debris, but, was in fact a very complex, alien artefact. The machine is out of the range of our probes, so how can the scientists discover all there is to learn from the master race that built this express blob? You guessed it, they are going to send you up there to put the brakes on. Some smart Alec in a white coat has worked out that if access can be gained to the central control computer and the correct sequence of codes be placed in it the ship will grind to a halt. Well that's the theory, it's up to you to try it out in practice.

You start on the deck called 'CCC' this is on level 4 deck 4/4, roughly in the middle of the ship. The layout of the ship is constant, it has 7 decks but the number of 'rooms' varies according to the deck. Decks 1 and 7 have only one room, decks 2 and 6 have 9 rooms (3X3), decks 3 and 5 have 25 rooms (5X5) while deck 4 has a matrix of 7X7 giving 49 rooms. A simple map of the ship would be diamond shaped. Each of the decks and rooms are interconnected by service tubes.

The player is presented with a 3D, vector graphic, view of the space ship internals. The focus of the game, the 'CCC', has seven empty racks and inside each is a letter and an empty space. In the start up game the letters are K, O, M, P, L, E and X, the task is to find the seven letters and place them in the empty space within the corresponding racks. The missing letters will be found scattered about the ship inside the many other racks the vast majority of which contain nothing but circuits, so it's going to take you a long time especially if you don't make a map as you progress.

To help you your ship is equipped with a target indicator which points in the direction of the rack containing a target letter. Once you have found the rack and docked with it you will be able to transfer the letter to your own ship, then it's back to the CCC to place the letter into the correct rack. Repeat this process with the remaining six letters and the Alien will have been re-programmed.

The scientists on Earth will not have explained the ships automatic defence system, possibly because they thought that you might not go, but we know what a brave bunch CRASH readers are. The first element of the defence system is the surface lasers, long poles protruding from the floor, firing as your ship passes and damaging shields. The second element is mobile droids called Monitors and Wardens which seek you out and fire on you, again damaging shields. When you move along a service tube you will be fired upon by the third defence mechanism. Your own laser will not work within the confines of the tube so all you can do is minimise damage by deflecting the attacks with an external shield. Shield strength is indicated by an array of short bars under the playing area. With each hit they will shorten and eventually vanish. Shield strength can be improved by destroying the droids with the laser provided you and allowing their debris to settle.

The degree of hassle you get from the mobile attackers depends on the ships awareness of your presence, if you scamper about the place bumping into walls, tubes and over motion detectors the ship will alert more of its defence against you. The player knows how aware of him the ship is by the number of 'warden alert points' he has accumulated, these, together with the damage to your shield, can be cleared by changing decks.

Apart from the target location device your ship has an accurate navigation log to help keep track of your location, and luckily you don't have to travel along a tube to find out where it leads because in a fit of inexplicable cooperation the ship will tell you the destination of a tube when you dock with it.

Accompanying this game is the free Editor which allows customisation of the alien ship you can turn off the various defences for instance. It has been included to aid in making maps which in turn speed up the process of playing the game. Another feature of the Editor is that it will generate entirely new maps to extend play. Each new map name will invoke a map, different in every respect except for the number of rooms and levels, which will remain constant.

It is important to remember that the map generator does not generate random maps, if two machines each had a map named 'CRASH85' then those maps will be identical. Since each map is generated by a combination of any seven letters the Komplex Editor is capable of creating a total of well lots and lots of different maps.


'After the failiure of The Great Space Race Legend have rapidly produced Komplex. On playing I was totally confused, but as time went by things became clearer. Although confused I had fun shooting wardens etc. After learning how to play, the game's awesome task was before me. I managed a 'K' and now I just need the rest. This game, with pretty decent 3D graphics really grows on you in time. All in all a much better offering than last time.'

'Komplex is a very attractive looking game, with nicely moving 3D objects drifting about the screen. The detailed ground rises and falls as you move towards it very well. It looks like a very professionally written program, but oddly enough, as soon as you move the screen moves jerkily left and right, although this isn't as noticeable if moving forwards or backwards. It's a little bit disturbing. I like the idea of the regenerating shields which enables you to progress through enemy territory for some considerable time, and the docking idea is really good, especially as you float down hexagonally- shaped tunnels, where the sense of forward movement is created by waves of colour coming towards you. However, I began to lose interest after a while - perhaps it could do with more fast action, although the strategy side of it is quite good, and it's a little over-priced for what you get'

'I am really having a great deal of difficulty making my mind up about this game. The effects created by the graphics are superb and the interior of the space ship is truly alien and eerie. The pure arcade player may not find satisfaction in the shooting action, nor will his adrenalin pulse around his system as he tries to avoid death because dying is not easy. The real purpose of the game is to explore and eventually re-program the ships central computer. After playing the game for an hour there is little chance of your being surprised by the objects and scenery that will be found on a new deck. As a pure mapping game Komplex is winner because of the number of non-random maps that can be created, all of them graphically excellent. An astute player will soon learn that the more care he takes in moving about the ship the less aggravation he will get from the defence system, others may simply ignore the attackers on the grounds there is little chance of being killed anyway.'

Control keys: all definable to suit player
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor type, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: mostly black and white but effective where used
Graphics: very effective
Sound: very little
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 1
Screens: 119 locations for each map name
General Rating: An unusual 3D game more involved with mapping than fighting.


Screenshot Text

Shooting up one of the Monitors in KOMPLEX; only a medium level Warden alert, but it's hotting up.

Docking with a letter rack - the K of KOMPLEX.