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Quicksilva Ltd
1983
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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20
Chris Bourne

Laser Zone is an insanely fast shoot em up with a difference. This is more of a shoot em up 'n' across. Instead of the usual left/right moving laser base at the bottom of the screen you have, in addition, a vertical laser base on the right hand side of the screen as well. Both bases are controlled independently although there Is only one fire control for both.

Because this is an exceptionally fast game, a training mode has been provided, which allows you to get the hang of firing without being attacked. It's a bit like one of those tricks where you have to pat the top of your head with one hand and rub your stomach at the same time with the other - not easy!

The assaults come in attack waves (a time-honoured tradition with aliens), and should any of the various aliens reach either laser base axis, they will simply crawl along until they reach a base and that's one life gone. Later assaults contain pods which form on the screen and stay there a short while. When these blow up, any laser base opposite will be destroyed. Some alien ships will swoop down and then sideways along an axis, and the only way to deal with them is to fire diagonally from the unthreatened laser whilst avoiding shooting yourself! Electro bolts may be fired along the cannon tracks to destroy landed aliens, but there are only three with another gained for each wave destroyed.

CRITICISM

'Firing diagonally takes quite a bit of practice before you get the hang of it, and I'm afraid you need to do it constantly! The graphics are fairly simple yet smooth and the game is a highly original one. It's highly addictive, and makes an excellent two-player 'co-operation' game. It's the originality and simplicity of idea which makes it an excellent game. I hope Jeff Minter does more software for the Spectrum, his games being in the main, very addictive.'

'For players who like shoot em ups and have become bored by the usual 'Galaxian' or 'Phoenix' format, this game should prove a winner. The very speed of play makes it difficult to master, before one even goes on to talk about controlling two different lasers at once. The keys are a bit of a handful, no doubt why the two-player working together facility is included. It obviously won't appeal to those who prefer a slower or more contemplative game, but it blew my mind!'

'This game offers lots of combinations for defending yourself, like the laser bases can 'wrap around' to escape landed aliens for a little longer while the other base tries to pick them off - but is there the time to think and act? The sequence between lives is perhaps a little too long, although after a few hours playing you become grateful for the break! If you like shoot em up games, this is triff.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q/W = left/right, O/0 = up/down, SHIFT or SPACE = fire, X or M = electro bolts
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2
Keyboard play: fast and responsive
Colour reasonable
Graphics: good, although quite small
Sound: good
Skill levels: a massive 32!
Lives: 5
Features: Individual or cooperative firing, 1 or 2 players
General Rating: Very good, highly addictive for shoot em up fans.

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Screenshot Text

Laser Zone - insanely fast, pure arcade action shoot em up and across.