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The Edge
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

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32,33
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Jaws dropped when Shadow Skimmer came into the office. Leads were checked, heads were shaken, could it really be on a Spectrum?

It was. Shadow Skimmer is the smoothest scrolling most attribute-clash free game you've ever seen.

It takes a sizeable leap beyond Lightforce's previous achievements in this area. It looks, if you want a point of reference, a little like Uridium did on the Commodore but is maybe even more detailed.

The game play itself is a little like Uridium too, in that it combines frenzied shooting with not bumping into things. It is also set on the surface of a giant space ship.

There is, however, a good deal more to the game than any of this might suggest.

The plot is this. There you were, dossing it on a Grade A interstellar liner when it's your turn to check the outer hull in your space skimmer. No problem, all those ultra efficient hull defence systems should take care of alien interlopers but guess what? Things go horribly wrong and you get trapped out there amidst a trillion different defence mechanisms in a landscape of almost box-like enclosed spaces. It isn't easy to manoeuvre let alone survive. Somehow you have to get past all the ship defences and make it to the one route back to the safety of the ship.

Problems come in various guises, obviously there is a strong chance of being blown away by assorted ship laser defence mechanisms, there is also another problem - finding your way around, often a section of hull seems impassable and back and forth you go crunching into bulkheads. Part of the trick is to make use of a nifty facility which enables you to flip your ship (a hip hop phrase if ever I heard one). Flipped, for structural reasons that elude me. your ship can pass under some of the obstacles in its path. There is a problem though, upside down your ship is not nearly so capable of defending itself.

In some cases one route through the ship is to enter the cargo holds and find another exit. The sequence where the cargo doors open and close around your ship is. simply, breathtaking I don't know why exactly such a small thing should seem so wonderful but it's so smoothly and elegantly done its almost my favourite feature.

Over all the scrolling, is as smooth as caramel, the spaceships are some of the most creative I have seen, and you couldn't ask for more speed. Shadow Skimmer scores all the way.

Label: The Edge
Author:
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

*****

The smoothest scrolling attribute-clash free game you've ever seen. Maybe more detailed than Hewson's Uridium.

5/5