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Mastertronic Ltd
Tim Miller
Arcade: Maze
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

Here's a rocket for your pocket from Mastertronic, a sort of space age Band Aid. Earth has finally run out of food and instead of using trad means like genocide to solve the problem, we're sending out space pilots to filch the food from alien transporters. Trouble is they've all been squelched and it's up to you to fly the firmament and feed the world. The more grub you get (and aliens you zap, of course) the further up the astral plane of promotion you'll move, from rookie to the ultimate accolade of hero?

Your first task is to set your approach speed and seek out a target from one of the three types of alien ship. Then plot your course across the star map, keeping a close check on your fore and aft viewers and astral compass. Readings are given for system status (shields, ammo, fuel) and player manifest (warp drive, robo bike, equipment). Warp drive'll get you out of a star system (and trouble) but is heavy on the galactic gasoline.

Get this all sussed (phew! not easy!) and you board your target. Jet pack propelled (inertia effect'n'all) you can now search for stores supplies and flashing food aboard the ship - but beware, she's heavily protected inside too. A mini-maze ensues, and I think you'll be mega-amazed at the features squeezed into this package.

With eleven ranks to be achieved and fifteen star systems to be explored this game's worth the money for sheer longevity. But it's far more than a cosmic maze or alien shoot 'em up. To call it a cut down version of Elite is a complement to both. But Space Hunter isn't just a cheap imitation - it's a valid game in its own right. A wonder at £1.99.