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Melbourne House
1987
Arcade: Vehicle Combat
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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43
Andy Smith
Chris Bourne

Melbourne House let the sparks fly.

Rogue computers are favoured subject matter for scenario writers, and those at Melbourne House are no exception. The computer in Roadwars was responsible for maintaining the many roadways that linked the moons of the planet Armageddon. Since the computer went haywire, the roads have have been unsafe to travel, so it's down to you to restore order.

The player takes charge of one of two Battlespheres (your computer or a friend takes charge of the other) and the game involves travelling down a roadway and blasting away the malfunctioning panels that appear at the side of the road. The offending panels are easy to spot because they are of a different colour and usually come in pairs, one on either side of the road, with a huge electric arc between them. Destroying one of the panels will remove the arc but you'll have to clear each roadway of all the disrupted panels before the exit appears and you can progress to a different, harder level.

These arcs are the least of your troubles, however - you also have to contend with various objects found on the roadways. These other obstacles include spikes, small balls that turn into spaceships, and satellites that appeal at the roadside. All these hazards are destructive to your Battlesphere if you should happen to run into them with your shields down.

To aid you with your task you have a laser cannon with which to shoot out the panels and some of the hazards. But the laser can only be operated with your shields down indiscriminate fire will not only remove the offending panels, it will remove any panel. Once you've only got a few panels left on either side of the road it becomes very difficult to dodge the hazards and remain on the roadway, so caution when firing is recommended.

Extra weapons are available to help you with your task - whoever manages to run over an arrow icon in the road is graced with a drone that orbits his Battlesphere. The more arrows you manage to run over, the more drones you get, but if you lose one of your three lives you also lose any benefits you might have collected.

There's certainly plenty to keep the player busy in Roadwars but the game seems to be lacking something in the playability department. Control of your sphere is extremely difficult, and even if you master the controls you could find the fun soon disappears.

Reviewer: Andy Smith

RELEASE BOX
Amiga, £19.99dk, Out Now
Spec, £8.99cs, Out Now
Atari ST, £19.99dk, Out Now
C64/128, £9.99cs, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 85/100
1 hour: 90/100
1 day: 70/100
1 week: 60/100
1 month: 30/100
1 year: 10/100

Despite the Amiga's wonderful graphics, the gameplay is very off-putting. The game plays a lot better on the Spectrum.

7/10
4/10
1/10
7/10
715/1000

Banner Text

SPECTRUM VERSION

There are no drones in the Speccy version, but your main cannon gets a higher rate of fire every time you run over an arrow icon. Graphics are good but sound effects are nothing special. Generally the game plays a lot better on the Spectrum than it does on the Amiga, which just goes to prove that pretty graphics alone do not make great games.

AMIGA VERSION

The graphics are very good for the most part, and sound is satisfying. The choice of control method spoils the game to a certain extent, making it very tough to get into. As a direct result of this you could find yourself getting fed up with it sooner than you might have done.

Graphics: 7/10

Audio: 6/10

IQ Factor: 1/10

Fun Factor: 5/10

Ace Rating: 635/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 80/100

1 hour: 85/100

1 day: 60/100

1 week: 50/100

1 month: 20/100

1 year: 0/100

Screenshot Text

Spectrum: Good graphics and better gameplay.

Amiga: Very good looking, very hard to play.