It's amazing the difference a couple of years can make. When Slapfight first came out it was hailed as an enormous advance - a shoot-'em-up that was both fast and nice to look at, one that finally ditched the longstanding notion that no-one could produce a really smooth scrolling blaster on the Beloved Beermat. Of course, since then, every software company worth the name has produced about half a dozen of the things, most of them identical, and in 1990 Slapfight hasn't quite the same novelty. But that doesn't stop it being a cracking little game.
It's the usual old Uridium-style thing - you're skimming the surface of a planet (this time called Orac), blasting everything you can. When you zap some of the little blighters stars appear which you collect to give your ship extra capabilities (where would we be without those extra capabilities?). These include Speed (essential if you're planning to stay alive). Wing (makes your ship three times the size and three tines as zapful), Lazer (projects an invisible beam in front of your craft) and H Miss (missiles which home in on all targets). Hardly original, yes, but extremely effective. It's starts hard and gets harder, and it's been so beautifully thought-out that anyone who knows their shoot-'em ups will find it hard to stay away. Taito designed the original coin-op, Imagine converted it for the Spectrum - a useful little bargain at £2.99.
A bit frayed at the edges perhaps but Slap Fight still packs a fair old punch.