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Mikro-Gen Ltd
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Unspecified custom loader

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63
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

In the midst of multi-player zillion screen, ultra sophisticated, brain testing megaprograms it can be a relief to find a program like Stainless Steel, which for all its clever presentation and hard edged sprites really only requires you to blast and blast and blast and keep out of the way.

There isn't too much to say about subtleties of gameplay or tactics in Stainless Steel. If you can keep firing and kill enough baddies in a short enough time - you'll survive. Until the next screen. You are Ricky Steel a teenage superhero burning up the desert in Nightwind, a combat vehicle which looks like a Maserati and drives like a dream. Your teenage task - to blast assorted android troops and win the day against Dr Vardos. He represents forces of darkness and general nastiness.

There are four zones and in each you must clear the way of enemy troops and battle your way up a screen which scrolls up/down the middle of the TV. Your movement is also indicated on a long range scanner which runs right/left across the bottom of the screen. This gives information on enemy presence and also gives you an idea, through their movement patterns, of what kinds of troops to expect.

The task is slightly different in each zone. In the first you simply have to reach your battle Maserati. Later zones have you driving at speed and flying. Worry not though, in all of them you get to blast almost everything into tiny pieces. Of course they will certainly reciprocate.

Aside from steering and blasting, there is a time limit on each zone and fuel levels to watch - you need to collect the occasional floating fuel pods which come hovering by.

The game is astoundingly difficult. It took me ages to master. Time and time again android helicopters hammered me to bits, despite enthusiastic use of my defensive shields. Take that as a recommendation if you're some sort of Mr Cool of the consuls. If you are an ordinary games gonzo you may get very irritated indeed, but that's a few steps away from addicted I guess.

Label: Mikro Gen
Author: David Perry
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Various
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

****

Good shoot 'em up. Not a major release but nicely presented and challenging to play.

4/5

Screenshot Text

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

Nothing astounding, but nice, big, smooth graphics on relatively unchanging but detailed backgrounds. The classic arcade look if you like. Some bonus points for really good 'exploding to bits' sequences which burst out across the entire screen.

In the last sections things get a little more complex as you hunt for Dr Vardos himself - there is more variety to the graphics.

Sound is very good and aside from the usual bleeps and blurps there is an extraordinary exploding effect in which you sound almost as if you are screaming. It might be a sampled voice, in any event it is pretty gruesome.

TIPS ON PLAY

Use the long range scanner carefully, ft is the only effective warning of enemy forces you have.

Remember the prime objective is to destroy all the forces in each zone, not rush to the other side.

Take advantage of the occasional 'lay bys' where you can move well over to one side of the screen and blast at enemy forces more effectively.

Leave narrow sections of roadway as soon as possible - it is difficult to dodge enemy forces whilst stuck in them.

Watch fuel levels. Not only must you not run out but you must decide exactly when to replenish - use up all the fuel too early and you may not have enough left to mop up the enemy.