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

57
Max Phillips
Chris Bourne

The deserter... stranded in the chem-clouds of Nu Earth... carrying the bio-chipped personalities of his three best buddies... sole survivor of the Quartz massacre. Rogue Trooper, the last Genetic Infantryman now fights two wars - a fugitive facing execution from his own side and a vicious guerilla war against any Norts who dare to cross his path.

He wants his bio-chip buddies regened. But most of all he wants to find the Souther traitor who killed them and the rest of his kind. He wants him dead.

At this point the cassette card usually hands everything over to you... Sounds good doesn't it? But then this isn't an ordinary scenario and it isn't an ordinary tie-in game. This is Rogue, hero to millions and much missed star of 2000AD.

Shame that Tharg The Commercial One merely wrote zarjaz all over the packet and didn't bother to have a go. The thrill-suckers have been at work here.

It's by no means a terrible game. Cast in the 3D machine-gun toting hunchbacked hero mould of Cobra, Rambo and so on, it's got lots of gratuitous violence, lots of sneaking up behind walls and do-or-die dashes.

But it isn't brilliant - it's slow and flicks from screen to screen rather than scrolling. What's more Rogue is about three times faster going forwards/backwards than he is going left/right - weird.

And all you've got to do is: 1. shoot lots of Norts, 2. collect ammo to stay in business, 3. collect medi-kits to patch up wounds, 4. collect eight vid-tapes that identify the traitor and 5. make off in what looks awfully like a second-hand Space Shuttle.

If that sounds hard, I got all eight tapes and within a couple of screens of the space shuttle on just my second attempt at the game. Piranha promises all sorts of extras like grenades and Southers but if you can get this far without seeing a single one then I don't think you need bother looking for them.

One thing that is true is that bio-chip mates Bagman, Helm and Gunnar occupy the top of the screen and offer advice and encouragement. After about five minutes play, you're sick of their inane commentary and start to wonder why the hell you're bothering to carry them around...

Since I'm a Rogue fan, I'll say it's a nice bit of fun if you're into it. But it's not a blockbuster and it won't keep anything other than the goldfish occupied for more than a week. But then I'm charitable.

However, Judge Dredd would give it ten. Ten years in the isocubes.

7/10
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