Piranha
1986
Arcade: Adventure
£9.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

36
Chris Bourne

Readers of 2000AD will recognise the main character in PIRANHA's latest game. Rogue Trooper is the soul survivor of the Quartz massacre. The rest of his regiment was systematically wiped out after being betrayed to the Norts and then left to the mercies of the Sun Legion.

The vid-tapes storing the vital evidence which Rogue Trooper craves will probably have survived the blast due to their protective casing. Eight of these vid-tapes must be collected and put safely in a waiting shuttle for transportation to the spaceport where the atrocity of the massacre can be revealed.

Three of Rogue's friends who died in the Quartz massacre were stored at the moment of their death on micro-chips. These chips are now attached to Rogue's helmet, back-pack and gun, and each of them, Helm, Gunnar and Bagman have different personalities. These GI buddies cajole and advise Rogue as he roams the hideously contaminated Nu Earth.

The Nu Earth has been completely ravaged by the effects of chemical warfare, although because he is a genetic creation, this only affects Rogue slowly. The Norts who are guarding this desolate wasteland have to wear special breathing masks in order to survive, and can be recognised because of this. As Rogue stomps around the Nu Earth he can either avoid the Norts or blast them with his own weapon. Extra ammo can be collected along the way if supplies get low.

The marauding Norts are not the only perils facing Rogue on this ragged planet. Beware the minefields and the automated pillboxes which shoot anything (even Norts if they get in the way), and take quite a bit of blasting to destroy.

Each time Rogue is shot he loses five strength points, and stepping on a mine will severely dent his reserves. This damage is shown by the amount of strength he has left. When this strength level reaches zero he will die and the game will be over. First-aid packages crop up now and again and will replenish some of Rogue's energy.

Rogue's status is shown on a chart at the top of the main screen. This shows how much ammo and first-aid kits he is currently holding and how many of the tapes he has found. Points are scored for any Norts killed and Rogue's strength is indicated as a percentage at the bottom of the chart. To the left is a small map. It shows up areas containing Norts, the location of the shuttle, and the type of ground around. This is important, as while Rogue is in some terrain, he is slowly healed, whilst the rad desert and other areas will slowly drain his strength. To the right are the three chips and a small screen on which their messages and general running commentary are displayed.

The essential vid-tapes are easily recognised and these, like everything else in the game are automatically picked up when Rogue walks into them.

CRITICISM

'I found that after only a few goes I was only one tape away from finishing the game. The game is quite addictive at first, but this soon wears off as you realize that it really is a very small play area, as the screen rolls around. All the different types of area contain some well drawn graphics but are all stick drawings, and lack any substance - I also found these areas a bit bare as far as baddies go. I would recommend this to someone who finds games hard to play - but for hardened players Rogue Trooper is much too boring'

'The game perhaps isn't as good or as compelling as it could have been. Stomping around a fairly small wraparound playing area searching for things and murdering the odd baddie is a plot that's been used all too often in the games world. There is an overall lack of polish to the game. Graphically and sonically there is nothing in Rogue that will raise any eyebrows but they are adequate. I think this will appeal mainly to 2000AD fans as the game itself is fairly run-of-the-mill'

'Rogue Trooper is an excellent game. The perspective is very good, and though the variation of colour starts to hurt the eyes after a while, I could play this game for hours. I only have a small gripe, and that's that it's a little too easy to complete, and the finishing reward screen is fairly boring. The comments by the biochips add atmosphere to it, and the game is fun even if you forget the tapes, and go around blasting Nods and pill boxes.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, Sinclair Interface II
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: monochrome
Graphics: isometric 3D graphics
Sound: spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: 72
General Rating: Good game, but a bit easy.

75%
82%
76%
83%
79%
71%
79%

Screenshot Text

The ruined city is pretty packed with norts, so old Rogue had better watch his step.

Rogue in the nort graveyard. But he's out of med kits, so he'd better be careful.