Mastertronic Ltd
1985
Arcade: Maze
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

24
Chris Bourne

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a game, possessed of original graphics and good ideas, must be in want of a publisher. Yes well, thank you Jane, you are, of course correct. Nonterraqueous arrived at CRASH thought control with little more than the envelope it stood up in.

Thankfully Nonterraqueous is only half as difficult to describe as it is to pronounce. There is a planet (type: cold and forbidding) that is ruled by a computer (type: schizophrenic, paranoid eg Marvin but without the smile) and populated by a people (type: suppressed for too long, eg CRASHIess), the unfriendly computer is located in a mountain (type: big, cold and as yet unpenetrated). The population (type: defined above) decide to build a robot of their own (type: spherical, guided, thick) and send it into the labryinth (type: 1004 rooms, 42 levels) in order destroy the computer within. You (type: human, CRASH reader, smart) have to guide the robot past all sorts of lethal obstacles (types: photon thrusters, floaters, rapid repeat lasers, force fields, rooms of corrosive gas, bombs, rockets, more bombs, etc) in order to reach the chamber that houses the computer.

To complete the mission successfully will require a great deal more than just a good trigger finger. Many of the obstacles require adventure-like solutions so it's thinking positron protective dome time again. As your robot moves from screen to screen it comes across some weird and wonderful shapes dashing all over the set.

These little chaps are harmless (update: mostly harmless), they can be destroyed with laser fire but collision with them, or indeed with any other object, will damage your psyche level (dictionary: for Psyche read Energy). You can recharge the energy level by plugging into psychers. Keep a look out for objects that will help with the various problems, some you will be able to pick up and carry, bombs, fuel pods and the like, larger objects may have a more immediate use but some objects may have undesirable effects when picked up.

Below the playing area indicators give the score, psyche, number of bombs carried and the level that you are currently on. The authors have had the presence of mind to give an indication of the game completed percentage to provide good players a means of describing to others just how good they are.

CRITICISM

'I enjoyed playing this game with its great graphics. It will require a great deal of skill to complete, not least because of its vast size. The laser force-fields, which advance and retract very quickly, have been designed to take you by surprise whenever you start a new screen. The mini-adventure element makes this enjoyably more than a shoot em up maze game, an example being the bomb that might be collected from a lower offshoot of the early maze and dragged along for a few screens until an impassable barrier is reached. Here the bomb can be used to devastating effect (and good visual effect too). It all adds up to a good for value at the price game'

'This game has been around the CRASH offices for a few days now and nobody has yet worked out how to pronounce its name (we just call it Whatsit1). I think Nonterraqueous is one of the most playable games I've seen this month. It has jolly graphics which are well animated and only slightly jerky. The sound provides mainly spot effects with a tune for the title screen and it would have been an improvement if continuous sound had been included.

'One thing that comes to mind before you play this game is how they fit in 1004 screens -it's a huge, complex maze, but all the locations are really redrawn repeats. There aren't that many aliens to come up against and they don't kill you, they just rob you of strength, and once shot they don't reappear, which is a bit disappointing. To keep you awake there are forcefields which you must judge correctly to get past, some are very easy and some are difficult. After playing the game for some while things get a little boring as there doesn't seem to be much going on. You can count screen after screen of laser barriers, repeated objects and sometimes three aliens. The walls of the maze, however, are extremely well designed, not unlike the drawings in Psytron which adds to the look of the game but plays no real part except for robbing you of more strength if you touch them. A graphically pleasing game but one that could do with more action to keep you entranced within the game'

COMMENTS
Control keys: A/Q up/down O/P left/right SP fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair 2 and Cursor type
Keyboard play: responsive, 8-directional
Use of colour
Sound: miminal
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screen: 1004 switch over
General Rating: Good, a playable game, perhaps lacking addictivity, but good value for money.

78%
75%
78%
78%
76%
85%
77%

Screenshot Text

Unusually attractive graphics make their first appearance in the loading screen of NONTERRAQUEOUS.

Your craft is the round-shaped object on the right, firing a laser blast past a hapless alien.

The impassable electr-barrier is about to be destroyed by the bomb which is falling to the floor beside it.