Unless otherwise stated this review is not affiliated with any other website nor has the review been authorised by the copyright company or indiviudal author. As of 17th July 2017 this encompasses every review within ZXSR. If you would like this or any other review removed from this website, please contact the website administrator here.

Mastertronic Ltd
Severn Software
1985
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

Other Links


20
Chris Bourne

Big Brother's regime has collapsed. Earth needs energy, and needs it fast. You've been given the task of saving the world. In the days of the old republic, nuclear plasma an excellent power source was stored on four different planets. For years the pods have remained harmless, sitting on the different worlds inside rocky caverns. Equipped with a highly manoeuvrable but totally unarmed ship it's your job to fly over the pods and capture them one by one with your ship's tractor beam.

The plan is fine, but one thing everyone forgot was the automatic defence system created by the long gone empire. As your ship approaches, ancient gun housings burst into life. Your only hope is to dodge the incoming shells.

Your first problem with playing 1985 is encountered when travelling to one of the four planets. You begin on a moon near to the four podzones, and your craft is moored in a sort of hangar construction. When the game starts, the mooring beams pull away leaving your spaceship drifting in mid air. Gravity affects your ship and it starts to drift down. A short burst of thrust is needed to avoid bashing into the hangar walls.

The spacecraft is a bit like the one in Asteroids: it can rotate and thrust, and since the moon and all the planets the pods are housed on are airless, there's no friction at all. A short pulse of throttle and you're liable to drift for ages. This makes it very easy to crash into things. Once out the hangar, you have a choice of four planets sitting in the sky. Fly towards one of the planets and a transporter beam whips the ship down to the world's surface.

Your ship constantly uses fuel when going after a pod, and if the fuel bar at the bottom of the screen indicates an empty tank, you crash. Once the plasma is collected, some of the energy is syphoned into the ship and the fuel bar at the bottom of the screen is replenished. The main screen takes up the top three quarters of the display, showing the planet in a pseudo three dimensional view. As the craft nears the edge of the screen, more scenery scrolls into view.

Gun emplacements are quite deadly, firing slow bullets at the spaceship. Though they look very easy to dodge, it soon becomes all too easy collide with a shell and die. Sinister yellow spaceships patrol the skies of the four plasma worlds. They don't take an active stand against your mission but represent an extra hazard to avoid.

Once the four sheets have been negotiated, there's an extra stage where the fusion core itself is held. Trying to rescue this little goody is not very easy at all, but the rewards are very much worth it.

CRITICISM

'1985 is a version of the arcade classic Gravitar and though Mastertronic wisely didn't try and recreate the vector graphics the end effect isn't really all that impressive. Though I don't actually hate this game it inspired a real indifference. Graphically it looks like a throwback from early Spectrum software days: the colours are garish and the movement is not very good. While the game is meant to feature proper artificial inertia and gravity, it fails because it is just too jerky. Admittedly, about a year ago, I might have got a bit enthusiastic about 1985 but nowadays it's just old hat.'

'This is the kind of game that gives budget software a bad name. Graphically there is a great deal of flicker, and lots of attribute problems. The graphics are also unvaried and boring; as for sound there are only a few spot effects here and there. Controlling your craft is hard at first, but it gets easier after a little practise. There isn't really enough going on for 1985 to be any fun.'

'Not exactly a thrilling plot: find a few nuclear pods on a few planets. I was hoping that the game itself would compensate for it, but it doesn't. It never ceases to amaze me how Mastertronic can produce a nice professional game like Soul of a Robot one day, then churn out some utter garbage like 1985. Sorry, Masterchroni… er… ironic, but 1985 is the wrong time for this. 1982 would have been more appropriate.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Z/X rotate left/ right, SPACE for thrust and symbol shift for tractor beam
Joystick: Kempston
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: nasty attribute clash when screen scrolls
Graphics: a bit old fashioned and definitely not exceptional
Sound: irritating noise throughout game plus tatty death noise
Skill levels: one
Screens: six
General Rating: Not bad, but really ancient in comparison to Mastertronic's recent offerings.

19%
21%
12%
22%
17%
25%
21%