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Abacus Programs
Kevin Flynn
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 16K

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Chris Bourne

Proteus is the fourth game in a series (all four may be bought in a games pack as we reported in last month's issue, price £14.95) which began with Avenger and Sentinel. This is a fast and lethal shoot em up game with asteroidal overtones.

A Quadrant of the enemy galaxy, littered with planet debris and patrolled by hostile aliens, stretches between your main battle fleet and the enemy's planet. The object is to destroy the enemy's communications system which consists of four transmitters, one in each corner of the quadrant.

A chart shows the quadrant with the squares containing the transmitters in yellow. The alien craft are armed with heavy laser cannons and are very intelligent. If you succeed in clearing them from a sector you will be attacked by hunter craft which fire homing missiles at you.

Your craft are armed with a laser and (the famous Abacus) guided missiles. It can rotate or thrust at two speeds. In addition to destroying the transmitters, you are supposed to clear a path through the very dense debris, so that your battle fleet may advance safely.

The cassette also contains a bonus game on the flip side called Android Pit Rescue.


'Abacus games tend to have a lot of control keys, this is no exception (5 keys for control, same 5 keys for weapon control). The graphics are rather small and simple, and the game isn't as much fun as it could be because of the control keys. Not very inspiring to say the least.'

'The screen is packed with debris which you must clear, but in fact the debris itself contributes to your defences against the very fast and decisive enemy craft. This isn't just an aim-well-and-fire game, strategy is involved too. The enemy will fire at your guided missiles, so when them are four or five in a sector, you have to fool them by flying the missiles all over the place, so they turn and fire. This can delay their inexorable move towards you and sometimes allow you to get a burst off with the short range laser and get one of them. Sometimes you can fool them into firing at the missile as you sweep it past very close on a tight curve, and then blow it up when it's inside their defences, and them with it. The graphics are small but very sharp and fast. To make life easier the weapons and ship control are on the same keys - the ship won't move, for instance, If you have just fired a missile, so that the rotate keys will guide the missile. Very addictive.'

'The enemy craft are very fast, defensive and intelligent - a group will attack your position, and while you are firing at them, another will try and sneak up on you from behind. The Idea behind Proteus is simple, but also very playable. Controlling a guided missile can be difficult, not to say suicidal, especially when they are as guidable as these are. If you clear a sector you should get out fast, the hunters have guided missiles too and they are fatally accurate. This game will take a long time to master and has a very good addictive quality.'

Control keys: A/S rotate/guide missiles, SPACE = thrust, SPACE & SYM. SHIFT = boosters on, SYM. SHIFT = fire photons, M = fire missiles, SPACE = detonate missiles, K = galactic map
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: exceptional fast and responsive
Use of colour good
Graphics: simple but effective
Sound: good
Skill levels: 5 speeds
Lives: 5
Screens: 20 battle grids
General Rating: For players with fast fingers, an addictive game.


Screenshot Text

The Abacus tetralogy moves into enemy territory with those lethal guided missiles.