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

Other Links


18
Chris Bourne

Ricky Steel is here! The new teenage super hero with the mechanical arm has finally arrived. Just in time, it seems, to save the world from the evil Dr Vardos and his merciless minions. First on foot and then in his combat vehicle Nightwind, Ricky weaves and dodges his way past the the enemy craft sent by the evil doctor as he heads towards the ultimate confrontation - with Vardos himself!

The action is seen from above and the play area scrolls up and down. The game contains four zones, each with its own set of hazards which become successively more treacherous. Enemy craft can approach from either in front or behind so Ricky has to be constantly alert - if his concentration wavers for a second, the android army commanded by Dr V is likely to send him to that scrapheap in the sky.

In the first zone Ricky has to leg it along the tarmac, avoiding helicopters which have the capacity to blast him to smithereens with their missiles. A collision with a chopper is also fatal. Fortunately, Rick can fire missiles too, and he also has a bomb shield to soften the effects of enemy attack. Trundling past traffic jams and road barriers while destroying android patrol ships which move across the road, the man with a steel arm has to make for the end of the zone and a reunion with his cherished motor.

In zone two, aboard Nightwind and flying through the air, Ricky's task is a little harder. Bubbles of fuel need to be collected to keep the super-car in the air as the dynamic duo fight thelr way across a desert. Rockets come zooming back and forth trying to eradicate Ricky, but Nightwind is equipped with a powerful laser cannon, which evens the odds a little as Ricky dodges and weaves his way towards Dr Vardos and his hideout. All the enemy forces have to be wiped out before the zone is completed.

In the third zone, battle resumes over a watery channel. Nightwind is amphibious as well as capable of aerobatics and as he deals with the airborne threat, Ricky has to watch out for submarines which pop up from the water every so often. Plonking a bomb on the deck of a submarine requires sharp reactions and quick timing, but lots of points are there for the winning!

The final zone is populated by androids in the shape of lizards and salamanders as well as Dr Vardos' other minions. Their aim is to thwart Ricky's noble attempt to save the world by finding and eliminating the evil Dr Vardos.

Status displays flank the main action screen: on the left, Ricky's energy and shield or arsenal strength is displayed below the score meter; on the right the zone number is displayed, together with the bonus points awarded, the number of androids that remain in the zone, and large red hearts indicate how many of Ricky's four lives remain. If the enemy forces are not shot down fast enough, it's possible to end up with a negative bonus score, so quick shooting is the order of the day... A radar screen below the main display reveals Ricky's position in relation to the nasties in the current zone, and a message is flashed onto this screen when Ricky bites the dust.

Steel by name and steel by nature: it takes more than a few androids to despatch a teenage super hero. Mikro-Gen plan to produce further games starring Ricky, but first he has to beat Dr Vardos.

CRITICISM

'Well, last month there was a crowd around the demo of this game, with everyone saying how brilliant it was. I think that compared with Equinox - Dave Perry's last game - this is well worth a Smash. The first few levels are very, very hard but once you work out a method they start to get quite playable. The idea behind the game isn't exactly original, but it is presented in a very nice way. Graphically it's excellent! The scrolling is brilliant, as are the characters which are after you. I am generally very impressed as it is playable, pretty and compelling.'

'Stainless Steel contains excellent graphics and superb sound effects; the game is very simple but very addictive. There are some great sound effects, and it's a shame you have to reload to hear more of the title tune - it's great. As shoot 'em ups go, Stainless Steel is very addictive - mainly due to the large scanner at the bottom of the screen that tells you exactly how far away you are from the end of the section. The graphics are superb and quite original, with detailed backgrounds throughout the game. Shoot em up fanatics will go wild over SS to start with, but I'm afraid they may find it too annoying because when you die you go nght back to the beginning. Attractive but infuriating.'

'Stainless Steel is a great shoot 'em up. It has got very good graphics, excellent sound, and on top of that, a lot of playability - it's addictive, too. One thing that niggles me is the fact that when you die, the game takes you right back to the beginning of that level. Minor quibbles apart, Ricky Steel's first game is an excellent blast-the-enemy production, and he stands a good chance of becoming a real super hero if this standard is kept up.'

COMMENTS
Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: fine
Use of colour: monochromatic action
Graphics: very neatly done
Sound: tune on loading, plus good effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: four scrolling zones
General Rating: A slick shoot 'em up without too muchg depth.

90%
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89%

Screenshot Text

Having negotiated the mean streets in Zone Zero, ace lensperson Cameron Pound snapes the Steel Hero as he enters Nightwind...

Zone One and Nightwind zooms across the desert with an android missile up ahead and a helicopter about to fly off the bottom of the screen. One life left and n..n..nineteen enemy droids to eradicate. Cameron's got his work cut out here...