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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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27
Phil South
Chris Bourne

(Dum-diddly-dum crash bong tish dum-diddly-dum epic music) Ricky Steel, teenage superhero, nosed his car around the bend in the desert road. What was that glinting in the distance... his blood ran cold as he picked out the sleek snout of a heat-seeking missile, boring through the air towards him. He snapped back the joystick and his car sailed into the air, the twin machine guns at its front spitting certain death...

Mad Max anyone? In this tale of future violence, literally everything is bristling with machine guns and considering what you, as Ricky, are up against, it's just as well. As you fly along the roadways/seaways a la Spy Hunter in your car (if it flies all the time, why is it a car?) a multitude of very, very fast moving missiles and droid helicopters are flying in the opposite direction. It's your task to first find your car and get in it and then plough your way through successive streams of "two directional replacement inertia scrolling" screens until... well, until you snuff it, really!

To be perfectly honest, I thought that the missiles weren't the only things that were boring through the air. Although undoubtedly very skilfully produced and written, after a short time the relentless stream of helicopters and interesting looking aliens begins to pall. On top of this the explosion sound effect, (for all the world sounding like fingernails down a blackboard), very quickly gets on your nerves and 'cos the game is so difficult you get to hear it quite a lot.

The difficulty of the gameplay stems from the speed of the aliens, and the slowness of Ricky, plus the ineffectual armourments he's supplied with. Why, if this is such a hot blast'em up, is Ricky shooting single pixels? Have you ever tried shooting accurately at a fast moving droid helicopter with a leaky peashooter? Well, you certainly get enough practice here. Because Ricky dawdles along so slowly, even the most lackadaisical droid 'copter can whizz up behind him and shoot him in the back before he can bring his death-dealing pixel dribbler to bear.

Another unfortunate tendency with this game is the No Win Startup situation. This is where you lose a life just after you begin a new round due, not to incompetence on your part, but to the fact that a droid 'copter materialises right in front of you before you can even move. Scrrriiittchhh! You're dead.

If you like shooty games and can be fagged to persist, then this is as good a game as any I suppose. But in the originality of game play stakes this ranks alongside most of the best budget games. Which would be fine if it was a budget game. Sorry, Ricky. I wasn't so easily impressed.

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