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Zeppelin Games Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

Oh woe! Woe again. Our happy planet is under attack and is practically falling apart because of the never ending waves of armed spaceships. Why are these ships attacking? Who knows. All you need to know actually is that you are a mercenary who has been hired to help destroy the might of the hideous 20-headed 3-tentacled aliens who now control a reign of terror over said planet. Thankfully, you're not alone. The aliens are organised into 8 groups, and a 5th columnist rebel has smuggled him/herself aboard each of the sector HQs. You must make contact with them and collect pieces of blueprint they give you. Only with the blueprint safely in your hands will you have any hope of saving your planet and its people.

Enough of this tosh. Sabotage is nothing new. I don't care what impression I just gave you. I know the plot makes the game sound wildly exciting. I know the plot gives the impression of stunning originality. But the game is, in fact, simply Lightforce without the bells, whistles and colour. For those of you who read Crash, and therefore have absolutely no idea what Lightforce is and are probably not allowed to use sharp instruments, such as candles, this means that Sabotage is a vertically-scrolling shoot-everything-that-moves-em-up. You control a single spaceship up a series of vertical 'corridors' and have to defend yourself from incessant attacks by waves of marauding enemy craft. There are asteroid fields to navigate, plus the maze of birds. Huh, you say, what maze of birds? Oh. didn't I mention them?

After you have passed through the level, you meet the normal multi-hit mothership. Hit her a few times, which is really easy to do, and she'll explode. You then land your ship on the runway at the end of each level, and you're into the sub-game.

A small maze appears, with you at one end and the 5th C. rebel in the middle. You have to work your way through the maze and avoid the divebombing birds which appear at the top of the screen, wait a few seconds, then fly directly downwards and vanish at the bottom. One you reach the 5CR, you collect the piece of blueprint, and it's time to trot off to the next level Trot, trot, trot.

Sabotage is a very good game. Not it's not often you hear me say that. I like it because it plays very well, although your ship moves very slowly, too slowly for any really fast joystick waggling. Still, you can speed it up temporarily by collecting a speed icon. Unfortunately the speed doesn't last very long and you soon find yourself back at snails' pace.

Graphics are average for this kind of game. Your ship is animate, well enough and the crafts move very smoothly. The aliens are varied enough to be interesting, though things do get a bit repetitive.

A very playable shoot em up, and one that has done Zeppelin proud. One of the better budget releases around, it makes you want to see more from Zeppelin.

Label: Zeppelin Games
Author: Nicky Rutter
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

Playable upward scroller with some nice graphics. A worthwhile budget buy.