ARCADE GAMES involving alien spaceships and destructive droids have taken another step forward with the release of Psytron by Beyond. The scenario is not startling - you have to defend a space colony against alien attack. The aliens try to bomb various installations and drop saboteur droids into the tunnels below which self-destruct when they reach their target.
What sets Psytron apart from the herd is its staggering complexity and extremely high-quality graphics. The game is played across 10 screens representing different areas of the colony and each picture can be called-up instantaneously. Beneath the view are status reports, including a continuous scrolling report simulating the kind of screen window associated with far more sophisticated machines than the Spectrum.
The first level may seem tedious. All you have to do is hunt the saboteur droids through the tunnels; when you have achieved a 50 percent score five times in a row the game allows you to continue to the next level, where you shoot at spaceships. More and more elements are included, until the final level arrives.
At that advanced stage not only do you have to keep zapping the aliens but you must also manage your crew numbers, deciding your defensive priorities to ensure the survival of the colony's buildings and the population. If the medical unit is destroyed your wounded will die; if the docking bay is damaged vital supplies may be lost.
Beyond is offering a Sinclair QL to anyone who can survive for an hour at the highest level. If anyone can, they might be better employed running the NATO central defence systems, or imprisoned forcibly as a potential danger to the public.