Code Masters Ltd
1987
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

74,75
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

You may remember programmer Christian Urquhart from his stint at Ocean when he co-wrote Daley Thompson's Decathlon.

Well, since then he's moved into space, first with Gun Runner for Hewson (reviewed this SU) and now with Star Runner for Code Masters.

It's the year 2087 and time for the Olympics, which the Earth hasn't won for 19 years.

So, the people of Earth expect your best when you take part as a Star Runner in the space marathon - not just long distance running but hurdles as well. The joystick controls are simple enough. Left and right takes you across the track while forward thrusts you and fire makes your cloth-capped figure jump. There's no turning back.

The 3D course is set out a bit like Hewson's Impossiball but action is slightly jerkier. There are more obstacles through which to steer, though. For starters there are the knee-high hurdles over which you've got to jump. If you hit one at high speed your runner takes a tumble - the funniest aspect of the game.

Once past the hurdles you get a mixture of flame-filled pits, deep holes and slow-pads which reduce your speed. All can be dealt with by jumping but you can also move your runner left and right to avoid them. The course is mapable so it's not too difficult to work out where each obstacle will be on the next screen.

The obstacles you can't jump over you'll have to go round. They include a battering ram which knocks the wind out of you and blows you back on to the previous screen, and a robot which just obstructs your path. Toward the end of each level there are a series of teleports which take you back to an earlier screen and lose you time.

After you finish each level of this sprint-a-thon in space you're given a time and a score rating. If, however, you fall down on the job and don't get to complete the race, the auto-scorer comes up with a suitably sarky comment such as 'My Grandmother could do better?'

Label: Code Masters
Author: Christian Urquhart
Price: £2.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: John Gilbert

****

3D space marathon with programmer Christian Urquhart on top form. Unlikely to take off as a real sport, though.

4/5