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Virgin Games Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Your task in this game is to protect a domed city on an asteroid from the ravages of alien attack. You control a small spacecraft armed with lasers, in this game written by the authors of Yomp and Rider.

The city is protected by a two-stage force field whose energy banks become weaker after many impacts. This force field will be lowered to protect the civilian parts of the city, thus leaving the large communications dish unprotected.

If the dish is destroyed, you lose a life. Your ship's lasers will run down with repeated use and take time to recharge; similarly fuel may run out before the attack wave of aliens.

The screen shows the surface of the asteroid at the bottom with the force field emanating between opposed wins of hillside. Between the hills can be seen the domed city, communications dish (in the centre) and the space port. Below the display are two bar codes for laser strength and fuel level.

An eight-option menu allows for joystick or keyboard selection, customisation to the extent of having armed or unarmed aliens and the type of space ship you would like. There is also a very good demo mode on offer. Aliens hitting the force field weaken it, so having unarmed aliens does not necessarily make the game any easier. The screen wraps around horizontally, and diving your ship into the force field will kill you off.


'Quite a reasonable shoot 'em up here with good graphics. The game is fun but not really varied enough to make it truly addictive. Options to arm or unarm the aliens and have different spacecraft help. Quite good graphics, smooth-ish, fast movement of the ship and aliens. Virgin are improving. This is a good game but without much addictiveness. '

'This game plays so fast that it is almost impossible to concentrate on your targets. Graphics are large and detailed and the colour is well used. Other than shooting down aliens there isn't much else to this game. Overall, quite a good game but with low playability because of the impossible speed it plays at.'

'I know I shouldn't compare games across computer types, but sometimes damn it, you have to. Space Command looks like the same sort of game asMetroblitz by PSS for the CBM 64. Now I know the 64 graphics are much stronger, but I have seen games for the Spectrum which I think are better than on the 64. In this case it isn't so, nor is the level of playability. After all, the screen area is the same, yet PSS manage to make it seem infinitely bigger. This spaceship has no momentum, zipping about like a gnat quite unrealistically. Also the game has been mis-paced, everything happening too fast for the size of graphics for you to be able to do much. The key positions are terrible, all in a straight line on the bottom row. It 's a pity, because the game in itself is reasonable, just the general working seems to have gone adrift somewhere.'

Control keys: Z/CAPS up/down, M/SYM left/right, SPACE to fire, ENTER = engine boost; alternatively, cursors and 0
Joystick: ZX 2, Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: reasonably smooth, large, detailed and fast
Sound: above average
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 4
Attack waves: 10
Originality: quite a novel space shoot 'em up
General Rating: Above average for those who like a very fast game.


Screenshot Text

Wrap around rotters are virgin' on the suicidal as they try and wreck your Space Command.