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Jon Dyte, Nick
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

You are the commander of the moonbase defences, out on routine patrol duty in your ATMB (All Terrain Moon Buggy). This amazing vehicle is capable of jumping over holes and craters in the ground and it is fitted with forward and upward firing laser missiles.

The moon base outer defences have been penetrated by alien attack forces and that routine patrol is about to become a nightmare!

The aliens use low-level attack from saucers which drop bombs. Apart from probably hitting you, these also make more craters in your path. Surface attack comes from tanks which file missiles, and land mines which must be jumped. In addition, there are giant boulders, too big to jump over, which must be blasted away. As well as jumping, your moon buggy can accelerate and decelerate. Speed is needed to get over some of the bigger or double craters.

In 'Penetrator' style, the ground and background landscape scrolls from right to left to create the movement. Accelerating the moon buggy causes it move farther towards the right of the screen. The ground will change colour as you progress.


'This is a better version than the Visions one, in as much as it follows the arcade original rather better. Keeping an eye on the ground ahead, missiles from in front and above and trying to fire your own missiles can become quite frantic at times. The game is completed after four sectors have been crossed and the base reached. The graphics are quite good with nice detail on the buggy, like the bouncing wheels on their suspension and the way they all fly off if you're hit or drop into a crater. Reasonably addictive and playable.'

'Scrolling landscapes and different types of alien that never appear in the same order each time all make for a very playable game. The acceleration and deceleration tend to be slowish in response, although this does make you think ahead. Jumping the buggy is sometimes a bit delayed if you have just fired a missile, and this can cause considerable panic. There are no explosions in the game, hit aliens just disappear into thin air. Moving mountains in the background add a bit of realism, although l found they tended to obscure the low flying aliens a bit. After 10-15 minutes playing my wrist gave up on the joystick due to the stresses of this fast action game - GOOD!'

'Moonbuggy is quite a good game, but not as good as versions I have seen for other computers (notably Rabbits Troopa Truck). The colour and graphics are good and the game challenging to play (don't use the keyboard!). I thought it was generally a "quite' game which lacked some detail to make it better. For instance, the buggy could have bounced a bit on landing. But I liked the way the wheels fly off when it crashes.'

Control keys: Cursor keys and 0 to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: poor positions but responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: good - fast, detailed and smooth
Sound: above average
Skill levels: 1 but it gets more frantic as you go on
Lives: 5
General Rating: Average to good, medium addictive.


Screenshot Text

Whoops! There go the wheels again!