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Super Sparklers
Mark Rivers
1986
Arcade: Action
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Unspecified custom loader

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88,89
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

SAS Operation Thunderflash is a Super Sparkler - a cut above a regular Sparkler and put out for £2.99.

It looks a bit like Strike Force Cobra but is simpler and its simplicity may be its greatest virtue.

There is nothing much to do in this game other than kill people. It's OK though, the people you get to kill are all totally degenerate terrorists. That is, you can tell they're terrorists because they kidnap people and you can tell they are degenerate because they have long hair and beards. You on the other hand are Rock Hardman, leader of a crack SAS team. You appear to be obese. I don't know why - maybe it's the tension.

The setting is an embassy as presented in Knight Lore-style 3D. There are comfy executive type chairs and Habitat-style coffee tables - a tribute to the graphics quality I guess.

The game blurb says: only cunning, skill, determination and force will succeed in conquering these symbols of subversion. This is pretty heavy right-wing stuff. I mean, maybe these terrorists have a case. Unfortunately there is no 'chat to terrorist' option so I guess you'd better just kill them.

The business of terminating terrorists with extreme prejudice is actually rather clever and requires quite a lot of skill and extremely fast reactions.

Each of the rooms in the embassy presents the same problem in a different way: how to get into a position where, even momentarily, s/he can't shoot at you but you can shoot at him/her.

It involves a lot of split-second timing as you work out how the terrorists move and how you can make use of the position of the different items of furniture to give you an advantage.

There isn't much else to the game - obviously you have to find your way around the embassy and rescue hostages when you find them but in the end it's all about killing them before they kill you and it isn't easy.

I rate SAS Operation Thunderflash pretty highly. The game idea is very simple but it takes a good deal of skill to make it through even half a dozen rooms.

It's all very well presented with convincing 3D graphics and at £2.99 you'll get a lot more fun out of it than a good many full price games.

Label: Super Sparklers
Author: Mark Rivers
Price: £2.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

****

Well presented and challenging 3D game. A simple idea but lots of violent fun. Strongest Sparklers release for ages.

4/5