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Faster Than Light
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Phil South
Chris Bourne

Far in the future, on the massive circle of pedestrian walkways (Shockways) surrounding the big city, the yobbos, finks, rats and scum play Shockway Rider.

The aim of this dangerous game is to ride the Shockways in a full circle around the city, without getting your head lopped off, your knees blammed out from under you, or your nose billed out of the back of your head. Grizzly stuff! There are three Shockways around the town, one moving slowly enough for you to step on from a standing start, the next one moving slightly faster, with the final outside lane going so quickly your hat blows off.

Along the side of the shockways are piles of ammo for you to fling at your punkish opponents, but in the absence of a handy missile your fists may have to do. Still, you've got to be good if you want to survive in this game. You'll have to jump, punch, fling stuff, duck, weave, weft, think, plot, draw and circle... phew!

A marvellous way to end your life on the shockway is the sub-sport of "not paying attention", especially when you reach a district with lethal hurdles to deal with. Many a rider has picked up his hat along that stretch of pathway, only to find his head in it!

It's all utterly addictive and completely unlike anything you've ever played before. It's unusual to find both originality and slick execution in a single game, but Shockway Rider has 'em. The graphics, in particular, are superb, from the three-speed scrolling to the great perspective effect when you throw a missile into or out of the screen. And the little figures are particularly natty! They run, they cheer when they get you, they splatter all over the track when they hit a hurdle. Enormous fun!

The most interesting thing about the game is the shockways themselves. They move along at different speeds, yeah? So what happens when you jump onto the next one along? The previous one goes slower, right? Yes it does. And so do the fiends who're riding it! So standing in the middle shockway, you have thugs bearing down from behind you on the fast lane, and weirdos hanging back in the slow lane, both of whom could jump onto your lane at any moment! You've got to choose where you jump very wisely, and blimmin' quickly too!

Another fine game from the FTL studio, and more than likely a future classic!


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You have to get through around 12 blocks (on the first level, at least), before graduating to higher levels. You got a time limit, too, so watch the clock in the bottom right corner.

You'd have to be Ed Moses to get over these hurdles, and since you aren't you'd better get out of the way pronto. Remember, these things were sent to try us! (Or in this case, kill us.)

You can tell by this bozo's shades that he's a baddie - oh, and the cheesy hairstlye. These characters are the only ones that change lanes and attack you - the others are just sitting ducks. That doesn't stop stationary thugs suddenly turning into beshaded ones, though, so don't be complacent!

You'll need ammo to survive Shockway Rider, so flip over to the hard shoulder and pick up these bricks. But be careful - supply isn't unlimited, and you'll have to replenish your stocks regularly.

You can really lose you head over this game if you're not careful. Notice the smug expressions on the thugs' faces. Do you really want to give them the pleasure? And why aren't they biffing each other, for that matter?

On later levels, pick up five of these mailbags for an extra life and heaps more points. But watch out, 'cos they always seem to be positioned awkwardly close to those head-high hurdles. Odd that, isn't it?