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Not Known
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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27
Cliff Joseph
Chris Bourne

At first glance I thought this was going to be just another platform game (not that I've got anything against platform games, give me Jet Set Willy over a flight simulator anyday), but despite some promising-looking screenshots on the cover. Rubicon turned out to be even less enthralling than that.

The instructions are what you'd expect - explore the deserted planet, avoid the robot defences, collect the items of treasure - the usual sort of thing. The controls are - left/right and jump/duck, so I thought I was in for a bit of platform action.

No such luck, though. It turns out that the planet Rubicon is a bit of a boring old hole, just lots of corridors on different levels and not much in the way of obstacles to challenge your wits or your reflexes. There are the defences that I mentioned earlier, but these consist mainly of sprites which attack you at either head or ankle height, and once you're used to the suddenness with which they appear, avoiding them is a fairly routine trick.

Though you can run to the left and right you can only jump up or down on the spot, which means that the action is pretty limited. There are no death-defying leaps from platform to platform (in fact there aren't any platforms either), just running left and right in the corridors and occasionally up and down in lifts. Instead of being an enjoyable part of the game, finding your way around the place becomes a bit repetitious after a while due to the lack of variety in the locations.

There's also a puzzle involving various noughts, crosses, triangles and so on, arranged on a large moving grid. Unfortunately the instructions don't even mention this or give you the slightest idea what it's for or how you solve it. After a few games wasted in trying to figure it out I finally started to get somewhere, but the process was irritating rather than challenging and it's really just sloppy packaging that's responsible for the lack of instructions here.

The game itself is quite well presented, and the graphics, especially the large space-suited figure that you control, are above average for a budget game. It's just a pity that the content of the game is so lacking in variety.

Dullish platform variant that's rather like Dan Dare without the Dare. Instructions useful only to clairvoyants.

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