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Tactical Combat
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

If you could film a Speccy game In Supermarionation, this is it. Straight from the stable of Sylvia and Gerry Anderson, here's a strategy game with a cosmic shoot em up element that looks like a combination of Captain Scarlett and Space 1999.

If you're looking for a subtle plot though, look elsewhere. Either you're a Raider or a Defender, and the prize to be won on the Rebel Star is the richest of all - control of Moonbase Delta. You can either play two up, choosing who defends or attacks, or against your Speccy, which always controls the defending team. It only has keyboard mode, but sensibly positioned six directional cursor movement still gives you plenty of manoeuvrability.

Each side has a colleciton of men or droids, all with a certain amount of energy designated as action points. These are all used up whenever that character loads a weapon or whatever - and be careful, these galactonauts aren't as energetic as you might think. They also have different fighting qualities (much like the superhero cards), some of which seem spurious but then bluff can be an important tactic. By punching the info button, you can size up the morale, stamina, armour, weapon skill and action points of any men at any time.

As well as movement mode, there's also select, and most crucially, fire mode with its three operations of snap, opportunity and aimed fire. Beware, the last is the most accurate but also the most energy draining. Speed and tactics are largely up to you and depend on how quickly you familiarize yourself your game options.

The Raiders must knock out the central ISAAC computer (and/or the three repairable laser defender computers) to be on the road to victory.

Rebel Star is really a wargame - a sort of inter-galactic Battleships, only here for the most part you can see what your opponents are up to. It won't win points for pace and sophistication but it's thoroughgoing enough to keep you off the streets for a while.