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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

The large cassette box carries an attractive picture of a very determined looking Llama, spitting venom at an exploding arachnid. Thus the strange animal vision of Jeff Minter, who brought us Mutant Camels, trundles inexorably onward in this new Spectrum version. The inlay contains long detailed descriptions of how Metabeasts, mentally and physically enhanced animals, have come into being. This appears to have been as a result of the abortive attack on Earth when agents of Zzyax mutated camels into awesome war machines. Now Earth have turned the tables by developing super Llamas. The drama unfolds on the Earth outpost of OP137 - the station set at the edge of time.

It is now under attack by Zzyaxian Cyborg Arachnid Mutants, which descend on to the outpost on strong strands of web. The Llama guarding the outpost is only equipped with its laser spitting capability and an experimental Planer Field Generator.

The screen is quite simple, a green base line along which the Llama can run in either direction, wrapping round it necessary, and at the top is a dotted red line, the Planer Field Generator. The Llama fires his laser diagonally upwards, the blasts ricocheting off the screen sides and off the underside of the field force. This may be lowered or raised to alter the ricochet period.

Arachnids can be shot while they are descending, and so may their web strands. The arachnids that land on the surface immediately change into disgusting Weeviloids, which resemble snakes. These will crawl along the ground at a pretty fast rate to get


'When I first saw the cassette of Meta-Galactic Llamas, I thought it was going to be a first-rate shoot 'em up along the lines of Mutant Camels, but I was wrong. The graphics are small and very undetailed, and the screen looks unattractive although the colours (used fairly well) are bright. Shooting the spiders has to be very accurate, though quite often your laser spit shoots straight through them. The option of user definable keys is very good and the responses are excellent. The idea of the game, however, is rather primitive although original. This is a well-packed game, but certainly not one I would buy.'

'I was really disappointed with this game. One has come to expect things of the great Jeff Minter, and perhaps it isn't fair to compare anything on the Spectrum with similar games on the Commodore, butt really would have thought the graphics could have been much better than they are here. They're small and there is no real animation with even the wriggling snakes looking primitive. It spoils what is otherwise a fast game with the potential to be enjoyable. But the real trouble with it is that nothing much happens beyond shooting dangling spiders and wriggling snakes. When you've done this for a short while it begins to get boring.'

'Meta-Galactic Llamas is fast and quite enjoyable for a while until you get the hang of hitting things on the ground by using the ricochet effect. I thought I "died" unfairly on a number of occasions when I hadn't actually been touched by anything. There are a lot of skit; levels, but they only cause the spiders to appear more frequently, and on the higher ones it is unplayably difficult. The sound, too, is somewhat poorer than it need have been. The result, as far as I am concerned, is an original idea which just hasn't gone far enough, and which has sub-standard graphics by today's expectations.'

Control keys: Q/W left/right, O/K up/down,, SPACE or CAPS SHIFT to fire. Keys are user-definable as well.
Joystick: almost any via UDK
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: small, undetailed, overall below average
Skill levels: 99, of which the first 32 are selectable
Lives: 3
General Rating: A fast game, but lacking enough content to be more than average.


Screenshot Text

Prancing Llamas with a powerful spit are pitted against spiders and snakes.