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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes

Other Links

Ciaran Brennan
Chris Bourne

'Son of a gun!' Problem? Yeah, Mac, I'll say we've gotta problem? I need a pilot, Purple Heart and all that - yeah another Tom Cruise you might say ('cept he ain't born yet) - to go on a suicidal solo mission over Jap-land (ptui!) and guess what? Captain Scarletjaw has gone to London to get in the way of commuters, talk loudly and take pictures of the GPO tower - that means we ain't got nobody with an ego big enough to go. Hey, your head's a little on the swollen size, d'ya fancy biting the dust - as a hero mind - over the south Pacific in your lil' ol' Mustang? Yo Mac! You've gone blue as blueb'ry moonshine. That's a pretty good goddamn idea, now the slants won't be able to see ya up in the sky. Good initiative, Mac, damn good initiative.

And that's the story: a mad suididal mission across crazy enemy terrain, resisting attack from psycho pilots - a bit nutty really. Yes, it's another monochrome vertically scrolling shoot 'em up - not in space or in the orbit of the mechanical planet 'Sheapdro Ping' this time, but above the clouds in down town 'I'm gonna' wash that man right outa ma hair' land.

The landscape oozes downwards (it's slow y'see) while you, a spanking double-engined bomber plane, cut a swathe through attacking waves of enemy fighters and resist attacks from yellow aircraft carriers. At the end of each section there's a massive bomber to blam out of the sky, and then, when you reach the end of the level, there's a mega-big bomber to blow up which is so huge it can hardly move. To help you in your awesome task are the occasional extra-weapon icons (surprise, surprise) obtained by shooting the occasional enemy fighter. These add-ons can be anything from extra-energy to double firepower or spraying bullets. Good eh?

Well, yes and no. The graphics are good, clear crisp military fighter-plane graphics, and the big-bomber is very realistic and vivid. The scenic 'over cloud' view graphics are a bit bland and the steady blue/white monochrome doesn't help. The fighters move in straightforward patterns, simple and easy to anticipate. The only one that gave me real hassle was the figure-of-eight path.

But where the game really falls down is on gameplay. Not because the responses are sluggish, or the enemy too fast, but because the game is soooooo easy. I didn't even break out in a sweat or swear once as I annihilated the enemy. Either this game is a cinch or I'm an expert gamesplayer with split-second reflexes and psychic anticipation. Make your own decision. And remember... never give a Kit Kat an even break.

A novel approach to a shoot 'em up. Good graphics but far, far, far too easy...