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Beyond Software
Pat W. Norris
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Space Station Zebra, apart from being a good name for a science fiction movie, is, as is name suggests, a space station. It is situated at the farthest outpost of the galaxy, spinning quite happily until the aliens come. Now the energy reserves are low, only one lazgun remains operative, and you are the sole remaining survivor.

The screen display is seen as if from a control tower of the ring-shaped space station, with the outer rim just visible at the bottom. Beyond that are the outer reaches of space, filled with stars. Below the viewscreen there is a radar, a thrust indicator, and an energy level indicator. The radar screen shows the view around the station unfolded and aliens will appear on the screen. The lazgun only works when there is sufficient energy. The sights are two fine markers top and bottom and left and right of the view screen. When the game starts the station is rotating and the aliens will try to attack the blind side. The spin must be halted before the lazgun can be used, so the radar is employed to bring an alien round to the front.

The alien craft appear with a partial 3D effect, to attack the station. Your station's shields will only survive seven hits, but are replenished with every completed phase. There are three phases with meaner aliens each time.


'The aliens come towards you in a poor 3D effect. Each move you make uses up energy, with recharges if no keys are pressed. When you press the thruster direction to start the station spinning again, the thrusters always come at full power. I didn't like the way this happens, totally unrealistic. The game has no real content and laser control is difficult without any cross hairs. No original ideas have gone into this game at all. Terrible.'

'The graphics are very good looking with smoothly scrolling star screen, so it seems a shame that the game itself doesn't really live up to them. A serious problem is the laser sight. The small markers at the extreme edges of the view screen are hard to see anyway, but when you are staring in the centre of the screen as an alien comes towards you, they cannot be seen at all, which seems entirely pointless and makes the game unplayable.'

'The game idea is quite simple - shoot aliens as they attack you in a very poor looking 3D with your laser which can't move fast enough to cope with them unless you are a clairvoyant and have it aimed right at the place where the alien appears. Good looking graphics, though poor 3D but a rather unplayable and uninteresting game.'

Controls keys: 0 and 1 stop/start rotation, M=fire, Q/A up/down on sights
Joystick: none
Keyboard play: reasonable, but slow on the movement of sight
Use of colour: good
Graphics: smooth and effective, but poor 3D
Sound: fair
Skill levels: 3 progressive
Lives: 1, shields take 7 hits
General Rating: Waste of money.


Screenshot Text

Good graphics put to poor use on the fringes of known space. Space Station Zebra.