Activision Inc
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£9.99
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

69
Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

When it was first released as a coin-op, Quartet was judged to be pretty revolutionary. It was a four-player game for a kick-off and it was one of the first non-sexist, non-racist, non-everything that you could possibly think of, games to come on to the market. And that made it rather interesting, and thus rather a good licence for some bright-eyed, bushy tailed software house to snap up. And that software house was Activision. (Cue fanfare.)

On the Spectrum it's a one or two-player game, but each can control two characters.

To set the scene. Owing to the general ineptitude and lack of brain power of those people living on the space colony, it's been over-run by alien pirate terrorists, - not the sort of aliens that you'd take home to meet your mother. So. It's up to the Quartet to save the colony from a lot of aggravation.

And this is where the 'non' bits come in. In the interests of liberation and free thinking, one member of the Quartet is a woman, and one of the men is black. (Not that you can actually tell the difference between them when they're up and running, one member of the Quartet in a spacesuit looks pretty much like another. And all four are pretty trendy.

Each one of the heroes (and heroine, let's be precise about this) had different skills, so it's up to you to decide whether you want to play the character who runs, shoots or bounces well. In two-player mode each of you can control one or two characters, so it's possible to play all four at once. Although this increases the number of points you can score, it also increases the likelihood you of bumping into each other and dying.

Amassing points is really what it's all about. And not losing them. One of the nice things about Quartet is that you can die lots of times without being eliminated. This is all due to the wonderful 9,000 points with which you start every game. Yes, they give you points before you've even done anything! But they take them away from you every time you die, and once you've lost the lot, it's Game Over for you chummy. You have a completely different counter for points scored, and it's possible to add more to your 9,000 by picking up things along the way.

And what a lot of things there are. Springs to make you jump higher, jet-packs to make you fly and funny things which defy description but which are pretty nifty anyway.

There are 15 separate levels, which can be randomly arranged to give a maximum of 99 levels. So there's lots to do. Each of the levels are quite distinctive, but the idea is the same, avoiding the aliens, scoring points and not dying to often. (Well, don't go into a coma really, you can't die until you've lost those 9,000 points). Then there's this extra-large and really mean alien terrorist, and if you don't kill any aliens at all on the level, you just have to kill him. Because he's got the key, and without the key you can't open the door to the next level. And he's a pretty tough cookie.

Quartet's graphics are a bit on the flickery side of things and the soundtrack consists mainly of blips and bings. But this, I think, considering the rest of the game high points, is a relatively minor flaw.

Quartet should do well. It's easy to play, but there are enough things happening all the time to keep the player on his (or even her, seeing as this is a non-sexist game) toes. It also places quite a big emphasis on team spirit, the idea being that the more characters you can coerce into helping, the more points you're likely to score. And that's an idea that is at least slightly original, which in turn makes Quartet slightly superior to most of the other blasts around these days.

Label: Activision
Price: £9.99
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

9/10

Team spirit and fast action make Quartet a cut above the usual alien-killer. A nice game which should do well.When it was first released as a coin-op, Quartet was judged to be pretty revolutionary. It was a four-player game for a kick-off and it was one of the first non-sexist, non-racist, non-everything that you could possibly think of, games to come on to the market. And that made it rather interesting, and thus rather a good licence for some bright-eyed, bushy tailed software house to snap up. And that software house was Activision. (Cue fanfare.)

On the Spectrum it's a one or two-player game, but each can control two characters.

To set the scene. Owing to the general ineptitude and lack of brain power of those people living on the space colony, it's been over-run by alien pirate terrorists, - not the sort of aliens that you'd take home to meet your mother. So. It's up to the Quartet to save the colony from a lot of aggravation.

And this is where the 'non' bits come in. In the interests of liberation and free thinking, one member of the Quartet is a woman, and one of the men is black. (Not that you can actually tell the difference between them when they're up and running, one member of the Quartet in a spacesuit looks pretty much like another. And all four are pretty trendy.

Each one of the heroes (and heroine, let's be precise about this) had different skills, so it's up to you to decide whether you want to play the character who runs, shoots or bounces well. In two-player mode each of you can control one or two characters, so it's possible to play all four at once. Although this increases the number of points you can score, it also increases the likelihood you of bumping into each other and dying.

Amassing points is really what it's all about. And not losing them. One of the nice things about Quartet is that you can die lots of times without being eliminated. This is all due to the wonderful 9,000 points with which you start every game. Yes, they give you points before you've even done anything! But they take them away from you every time you die, and once you've lost the lot, it's Game Over for you chummy. You have a completely different counter for points scored, and it's possible to add more to your 9,000 by picking up things along the way.

And what a lot of things there are. Springs to make you jump higher, jet-packs to make you fly and funny things which defy description but which are pretty nifty anyway.

There are 15 separate levels, which can be randomly arranged to give a maximum of 99 levels. So there's lots to do. Each of the levels are quite distinctive, but the idea is the same, avoiding the aliens, scoring points and not dying to often. (Well, don't go into a coma really, you can't die until you've lost those 9,000 points). Then there's this extra-large and really mean alien terrorist, and if you don't kill any aliens at all on the level, you just have to kill him. Because he's got the key, and without the key you can't open the door to the next level. And he's a pretty tough cookie.

Quartet's graphics are a bit on the flickery side of things and the soundtrack consists mainly of blips and bings. But this, I think, considering the rest of the game high points, is a relatively minor flaw.

Quartet should do well. It's easy to play, but there are enough things happening all the time to keep the player on his (or even her, seeing as this is a non-sexist game) toes. It also places quite a big emphasis on team spirit, the idea being that the more characters you can coerce into helping, the more points you're likely to score. And that's an idea that is at least slightly original, which in turn makes Quartet slightly superior to most of the other blasts around these days.

Label: Activision
Price: £9.99
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Team spirit and fast action make Quartet a cut above the usual alien-killer. A nice game which should do well.

9/10