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Romik Software
John R. Keneally
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne


ASTROPLANER, from Romik, might come as something of a shock, if your copy is packaged like the one recieved at Sinclair User.

The cassette insert promises a game called Beatcha, about a school in which all the pupils must avoid the teachers. On loading, however, the program turns out to be a shoddy version of Defender which, to add insult to injury is mostly written in Basic with a few bytes of machine code added for good measure.

Why anyone would want to bring out yet another version of the traditional game is beyond reason. There are already many versions around for the Spectrum and to release yet another the manufacturer must either think it has exceptional graphics or that it contains a feature not included in other versions.

Unfortunately that is not the case it is a slow version of the standard 'stop the aliens dropping the refugees' story. The hilly terrain and spacecraft stand out on a violent green screen which plays tricks on the eyes, making the game difficult to play. The aliens look as if they have been imported from the Imagine Arcadia.

The keys are difficult to use because, with the copy we recieved, the main instructions about control of the spacecraft were given in the program. There are two keys which start the game. If the wrong key is pressed the player will not only not know what the game is about but will also have to press nearly every key to find the control and fire buttons.

The aliens against which the player has to pit wits belong in a school for the backwardly bug-eyed. You will get more action from a Venus flytrap.

Astroplaner is a definite disaster, a game to steer clear of unless you are making a collection of turkeys.

John Gilbert

Memory: 48K
Price: £5.95