1986
Arcade: Adventure
£7.95
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

31
Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

A desperate last stand against the Andromedans - your fate as you find yourself abandoned on Nexor. The role of hero is thrust upon you and you've no choice - Nemisis - a deadly weapon - and its blueprints must be saved.

There's a small catch here though. Nemisis is in 10 bits and you don't know where the pieces are. Likewise, the blueprints must be found and beamed to safety, if only you can find a new control panel for the broken Matter Transfer Beam.

And that's the game. If it sounds easy, it isn't. The graphics are excellent, well up to Design Design's usual high standards - there's no colour clash, probably because each room is one colour and the masking effects are spot on.

The Nexor complex is about 13 levels deep with a huge number of rooms and corridors to puzzle your way through. Should you fall down the main lift shaft to Level 13, you won't die but it's a long tortuous journey back to the top. You'll have to use whatever lifts come to hand - be it square blocks or bubbles. These will carry you slowly up and stop at various intermediate levels. You'll then have to scurry across a platform or grid and jump on to something else to take you higher to the level you want.

Some rooms are simply stroll through jobs and are pretty uninteresting - others are infuriatingly difficult and need quite a bit of thought and practice before you can get from one side to another. The most deadly objects to avoid are bombs which tend to lie about all over the place. Bombs and other unnamed whizzing objects will kill on contact, and though eight lives sounds a lot.

Timing is the most important element of survival.

Each room can be easily negotiated once you've sussed out where and how far you can move.

In some rooms you'll find a number of objects which can be picked up though you can only carry one at a time. These consist mainly of chairs and blocks which can be balanced on top of each other to create 8 staircase. Then, if you're quick, you can hop up and into a high doorway before bad tempered aliens push the boxes away.

Your character is a chunky little fellow with realistic animation, though he plods sluggishly rather than runs, and can't leap very high - hence the boxes. On some occasions jumping is essential is when you find yourself moving on an automated walkway in the wrong direction. just turn round and, with the direction key and jump button pressed you'll soon make headway against the walkway. It's a bit like running up a down escalator.

Once you've found a bit of Nemisis or a blueprint, a message appears telling you how much time you've got left.

Quite useful, though I found my lives ran out long before the allotted time expired.

A certain random element creeps into the game too. In some cases, a room will be inhabited by all sorts of moving nasties, some which meander others seem to have set paths, but the next time you enter you might not find any. Perhaps they've all emigrated to a different area of the labyrinthine underground maze of Nexor. Whatever, a map would be a definite asset.

Though I found several pieces of the Nemisis, I didn't find the blueprints or the spare control panel, though I searched long and hard and managed to find my way round a surprising number of obstacles. However, the blueprints are more important and it's better to beam those away and self destruct Nexor if time is running out.

Label: Design Design
Author: Graham Stafford
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Clare Edgeley

*****

Great graphics, with lots to do. Nexor's frustrating puzzles should keep you busy for a good few hours.

5/5

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HINTS AND TIPS

Take care not to touch any moving aliens or walk into bombs.

Use chairs and blocks to create a staircase to get over dangerous objects.

Bubbles can be used as a means of transport.

On moving escalators, to run in the opposite direction, use the jump button.

Some moving blocks can be used to carry you round an alien-filled room.

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A Machines and cabinets. Perhaps some tea would help.

One chair. One table. A lot of bombs. Any connection?