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James Closs
1986
Arcade: Platform
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

67
Max Phillips
Chris Bourne

Ummm, yes. Interesting bit of plot work this. Nuclear test, Nevada Desert 1986. Strange goings on underground 1991. Send in Professor Fusion (we're slipping already).

Deep under the test site, the pot-bellied, bespectacled Penfold-clone Professor discovers a vast army of mutants, all of them a bit cheesed off with the way they've turned out. Determined to get to the bottom of this, he wanders deeper and deeper until the nightmare unfolds.

In just five years, this freak zoo has developed a technology far ahead of our own. And its underground city is stuffed with missiles to shoot back at us. (Serve the nuclear weapon merchants right if you ask me, but that's another story...).

It sounds an original game. But guess what you've got to do? Collect the radium crystals dotted around the various rooms while avoiding the mutants. Shame the Prof. doesn't have a hat to go with his belly - everything else is pure Jet Set Willy (including the flicker) so why stop at the hat?

It's nice to see a game that gets the genre right though. Subterranean Nightmare is extremely professionally and lovingly put together with some great looking mutos, carefully thought out rooms and minor variations on a theme that's about as firmly lodged in everyone's head as "Here we go. here we go...".

Collecting crystals has the effect of closing or opening other exits and walls. It's also possible to step on some of the mutants to hitch a ride or simply as a way of getting past them. And there's a useful (??) suicide key for getting out of screens (and games) you're stuck in.

'Tis a bit witty too. On second thoughts, with rooms like "The Fission Chip Shop", maybe witty isn't quite the word.

But good as it is, it's still a game that's been done a hundred times before and will probably be done again. I hate to say it but there's only one thing to say: if you're sick of platform collecting games, watch out there's another one on the loose. If you really like them, this here's a really good one. Go get it, lock your door and don't forget to eat....

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