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Colin Jones
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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26
Chris Bourne

The eternal struggle of good against evil, the goodies vs the baddies this is Sarlmoor, another binary game of binary morality. As ever, you play the goodie, battling against the nasty and evil Vard, a race that for aeons has inbreed natural nastiness. The Vard have managed to master a horrid form of biological power that allows them to keep all the creatures on a planet on the brink of death. The Vard are using their Biological Field Generator to sap the energy of the beings on planet Zorr, a peaceful and benign race. You are Sarlmoor, after witnessing such despicable behaviour you decide to sort the Vard out and teach them a lesson they won't forget.

First of all you come into orbit, and from a high vantage point must clear a safe place to teleport to. The first stage is completed by zapping a number of nasties from a great height. Controlling your saucer, left and right, you have to zap baddies as they travel along the ground below you. Zaps appear in the form of cosmic shreddies that zoom down to the planet but should they hit any of shreddie absorbing clouds they don't reach the ground. Your death-dealing shreddies mustn't hit the pleasant little lizard creatures either, as they're the fellers you must defend. Blotting these guys out with electrified breakfast will result in one life less for Sarlmoor.

After this stage has been completed, the action moves to an underground cavern full of nasties to be avoided. When your potholing activities have been completed, the Vards' Biological Field Generator is within your range and has to be destroyed. After that, all that remains is for the Vards' captives to be freed and the game is complete.

CRITICISM

'I've seen better games than Sarlmoor. The graphics are pretty BASIC stuff, but some of the effects on the title screens are quite nice. It's a bit playable, and addictive for a few minutes, but not really long enough to justify spending £1.99. All the stages are reasonable arcade games, but there's nothing particularly astounding about any of it. Simple, easy, and a bit boring seems to sum it up.'

'I'm not impressed: gameplay is slow, unresponsive and uninteresting. The instructions are a little unhelpful, although they suffice. Your man or ship isn't vent responsive to the controls and some practice is needed before you get the hang of it. The graphics would have been about average the year before last - the characters are short on detail, but move rather neatly. The sound effects are poor: merely a beep every now and then. After a few goes the game became monotonous and tiresome to play, so even with its cheapo price tag I wouldn't really recommend it.'

'I can't say I've got much time for games like this. Just because Atlantis are publishing cheapo games, do they think they can get away with bad games? It's not on. Sarlmoor is a very boring shoot em down which looks as if it was based on some of the very first Atari console games, yet it's a lot worse. It contains a second part which could have been taken out of Halls of the Things, but again, it's a lot worse. Accuracy of character collision is appalling and I found I could be a long way away from the enemy and it would still kill me. I wouldn't recommend this game to someone I hated - I mean, I'm not that cruel. Please avoid this kind of software and don't encourage it...'

COMMENTS
Control keys: A, S left, D, F, G right, Y-P up, H- L down, bottom row fire. 1 pause/restart
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: no problems
Use of colour: nothing special
Graphics: nice animation let down by the designs
Sound: minimal
Skill levels: one
Screens: 4
General Rating: Outdated - might have been passable a couple of years ago.

48%
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38%

Screenshot Text

The cave sequence - SARLMOOR is the winged creature to the right of the screen.

The shreddies sequence - you're in the saucer and have to shoot anything that isn't lizard on the planets surface.