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Adrian Longland
1987
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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72,73
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Amazing how last year's state of the art is this year's budget offering. A year or so back Nuclear Countdown would have been a Classic. This year it's a grade A top quality budget title. That's an advance I guess.

Visually Nuclear Countdown reminds me of a cross between Gyroscope and Highway Encounter, there are the 3D grids, holes and sliding platforms that remind me of the former The funny little pyramids, barrels and other objects are inspired by the tatter.

The game is played on a time limit. Your robot droid (yes another one of those) has to find its way through a maze of 25 rooms seeking out unstable cells and neutralising them (curiously this is achieved by blowing the thing up).

Inevitably there are the usual bumper assortment of robot droids lurking around each screen in the game. These scuttle about and should you bump into them - Zing! - back you go to the first screen again. This can get very frustrating The grid-like rooms are not easy to negotiate either. Some sections forcibly slide you in one direction or another, whichever its the wrong way. you can be sure of that.

Some squares drain energy shields (which defend you from at least some of the droid onslaught) others restore it. Some objects can be moved around, though I haven't found much reason to do so yet. Your continuing problem is to get to an energy restoring area before your shield energy drains completely.

It isn't terrifically original, and 25 rooms is not that awesome, but its very slickly programmed and well worth investigating. As I said, a year ago it would have been £9.95.

Label: Atlantis
Author: Adrian Longland
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

****

3D Arcade Came, that mixes Gyroscope with Highway Encounter to good effect. A first division budget title.

4/5