The cassette cover for Pioneer shows a jetcopter firing blasts at what looks like a group of Manhattan skyscrapers. Only we know that this isn't New York, but the tabled city from 'Scramble'. Pioneer is a sort of 'Scramble' type game in which you fly your helicopter across various types of terrain, through caverns and a convoluted city while asteroids, missiles and other alien things try and stop you. On the ground there are installations to be shot up for points and - what makes Pioneer quite different to any other 'Scramble' type - humans which wave as you flypass and may be winched up to safety, along with various sorts of valuable cargo.
The game itself may be defined by the player to a degree, and the option menu allows for selecting whether you will have no guided missiles, intelligent missiles, unlimited fuel, unlimited rockets, an easy, moderate or hard landscape to cope with. On the harder levels of landscape, life becomes very hard indeed. The terrain includes hilly landscape, rocky caverns, the same with asteroids, a straight series of caverns with forcefields to be shot away and some with enemy craft, and finally the city. The copter takes off from a helipad at the start, and if you get far enough through a section before losing a life, the game returns you to the start of that section.
'This is a 'Scramble' type of game where you need to winch up people, fuel and rockets, all the while avoiding the mountainous landscape, enemy missiles and enemy aircraft. The graphics don't move smoothly but this doesn't put the game to a serious disadvantage, and anyway, they are quite detailed and fast. Colour and sound have been used quite well. Everything works quite well although it is difficult to use the winch - you must be right over the object and hit the key instantly. This has the effect of stopping the otherwise continuous scrolling until the object has been secured. There is a very good change options feature where you can make the game easy or very hard. Overall, good value for money.'
'This is not an absolutely fantastic exciting game, but for only £1.99 it's very good. The graphics are average for the type (quite good, but perhaps a little on the simple side) and they scroll well, but jerkily. Sound, too, is above average. Winching people and things is very difficult and can be a problem, but it's the only way to get fuel and arms.'
'Pioneer is not a new sort of game, but it does have a few novel features such as the winch. In the main, scoring points by shooting things up is relatively easy, the main difficulty comes from the landscape which is pretty several times. The graphics are large and well detailed, colourful as well, but the scrolling movement is rather jerky and gives the program a somewhat old-fashioned feel to ft. However, this does not spoil what is a fairly good version for the price. It isn't going to replace the thrills of Penetrator, or Cavern Fighter, but should certainly fill in a few hours of enjoyment.'
: A/Z up/down, M = hover, SYM SHIFT = accelerate, SPACE = fire and CAPS = winchJoystick
: KempstonKeyboard play
: responsiveUse of colour
: block movement, big well detailed, above averageSound
: average generally, helicopter start upSkill levels
: several options to selectLives
: 5General Rating:
Average, though good value for money.
Your PIONEER helicopter approaches a pair of lost humans.