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Mastertronic Ltd
1987
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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118
Gareth Adams, Paul Sumner, Mike Dunn
Chris Bourne

Rasterscan, a large damaged spaceship, drifts uncontrollably towards a tugging star. The craft can be repaired and flown away from its prospective death plunge, but the only means of doing this is using a globular maintenance droid called MSB. But the rounded tot has a busted brain, its one remaining sound is how to repair a pop up toaster, and it has no knowledge of how to operate a space ship.

You have control of this limbless droid, and can move it to the left or right, up and down, through a labyrinth of coloured power cables and piping. A display at the bottom left of the screen shows MSB's position within the ship.

Once repaired the droid can plug into, and operate the ship's machinery and instruments. Every piece of equipment has a function, and once repaired it can be connected to the ship's power supply and this purpose defined.

MSB's passage through the ship is not unobstructed. Locked doors block certain sections of the ship. By manoeuvring MSB into the jaws of upturned spanner heads logic puzzles are revealed, differing from lock to lock. Once solved, the door is opened and MSB is free to bounce on its way.

The bridge contains a scanner, showing the ship's position as a flashing point, the star to which it is being drawn and several planets. The scanner is triggered by flicking on, in the right order, a series of three switches contained in a locked room close to the bridge.

MSB pilots the craft from a control room near the scanner. Here four Indicators show the speed of each engine, and a central circular display gives the Rasterscan's direction and relative speed.

CRITICISM

'At first I found Rasterscan very frustrating, I didn't have a clue as to what I was meant to be doing, even reading the inlay didn't help. After delving into this for a long time I finally found the secret and consequently enjoyed myself a lot. The ball moves around the screen very smoothly and has a neat trick of bouncing off walls, making the atmosphere realistic. It's a great pity that there's no sound, but you can't expect everything from a budget game. Well worth a look at.' GARETH

'I found Rasterscan very annoying. The graphics are absolutely brilliant (digitised I presume), and they remembered to put a decent splattering of colour in as well. Just the right amount of momentum is given making the gameplay feel right. I 'm disappointed that the sound is limited to a single tune on the title screen, as effects during the game would have made is much more atmospheric. The locks on each of the doors are all very easy, until you come to the useful ones which are practically impossible to solve. There's lots there, and it represents good value at £1.99.' PAUL

'The first thing that hits you about Rasterscan is the excellent graphics. The ball moves smoothly, and some of the scenery, like the cassette recorder, and the hand which you start upon, is really nice. I enjoyed it, except for the occasional crash. It's not bad, but it's worth a look, even if only because it's one of the better cheapies.' MIKE

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q up, A down, O left, P right, SYMBOL SHIFT fire
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Use of colour: subtle but effective pastel shades
Graphics: unusually hazy backgrounds and smooth animation
Sound: limited
Skill levels: one
Screens: one large playing area
General Rating: An unusual concept which has been done justice in execution.

78%
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Screenshot Text

The limbless droid called MSB (the segmented globe seen behind the red line) can be moved around the crippled vessel, its position seen in the scanner bottom-left.

By manoeuvring MSB into the jaws of the spanner-shaped objects, puzzles are revealed, which, when solved, open doors to locked parts of the ship.