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Rack-It
1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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98
Phil King, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

BASHING TERRORISTS BY AIR AND GROUND

Following the signing of yet another arms treaty, all medium range missiles were to have been destroyed. However, in the general way of things, it isn't the superpowers who slip up, but a bunch of terrorists who cause bother by capturing the two remaining missiles. With nothing better to do, they are holding the western world to ransom. Typical.

The US Government has rejected their demands and now sends you to destroy the missiles and capture the six terrorist bases in Battle Valley. You can choose either a helicopter or a tank for your mission. The hilly, horizontally scrolling landscape contains many terrorist weapons which can damage your vehicle; if critical damage is caused, you're returned to HQ, losing valuable time.

Terrorist bases can only be destroyed by the tank but in order to reach them, it must cross bridges. Some of these contain holes which must be repaired using the helicopter's winch to lower pontoons. The winch can also be used to pick up extra ammunition.

I don't think the success Battle Valley had on the Commodore (ZZAP! Silver Medal, 91%) is going to be repeated on the Spectrum. However, it is quite a good budget game if somewhat frustrating to begin with. The graphics are neatly drawn and animated and the parallax scrolling gives it that extra sense of realism. There's a reasonable tune playing throughout - unless you work out how to switch it off (I couldn't!) and the spot FX complement the action.

The idea of stopping bombs going off to save the world isn't exactly new (novelist Ian Flemming used the idea in one of the earlier James Bond books as a reaction to the Americans who set them off to save the world...), but the way it has been implemented here, with the choppers and tanks working together to defeat the enemy, makes a refreshing change. Battle Valley isn't destined to become a classic but it's good fun for three quid.

NICK ... 71%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Cursor, Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: smoothly scrolling, undulating landscape populated by fairly well-animated enemies
Sound: good Dave Rodgers 128K tune plus atmospheric helicopter and tank effects
Options: definable keys, sound on/off

CRITICISM

'For the first few goes, Battle Valley looked like it was going to be yet another boring shoot-'em-up. Two-layered parallax scrolling isn't exactly remarkable nowadays, even if it is pretty smooth. However, the way in which two vehicles are used for different situations creates a simple sort of strategy which makes the game absorbing. The time limit soon gets eaten up as vehicles get destroyed, but luckily, capturing a terrorist base bumps it up by five minutes. Battle Valley gets better the more you play it and is definitely worth the budget price.' PHIL … 76%

General Rating: Simple strategy coupled with decent graphics makes Battle Valley much more interesting than the average shoot-'em-up.

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BATTLING THROUGH

Use the tank to destroy ground installations, then use the helicopter to repair the bridges.

When in the helicopter, fly as low as possible to stop missiles coming across the screen.

Pick up extra ammo when you get the chance.

Capture the terrorist bases as quickly as possible to increase your time limit.

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Tanks a million, it's getting dangerous down here.

Flying high through Battle Valley