Punks seem in vogue at Quicksilva. After the pogoing photographics of Hocus Focus come the interstellar safety pin through the proboscis brigade - the mutoid Spike punkoids! it's enough to make Johnny Rotten.
I never was one for in-depth research so excuse me if I skim through the facts from The Universe - A History in One Volume, included on the inlay card. It seems that after 490 years of galactic combat (3027 minus 2537 does not make 590 - mathematical note to Quicksilva) it was time for a little novelty to break the monotony of warfare. So the mutants were developed.
After war was over the world had to find a use for the remaining warriors and the last four were sent to the planet Tantalus. Which is where you come in, in command of the assassination group battling through the planet's caverns and passageways.
Tantalus, the program, is big - very big, with a 1000 screen labyrinth to explore. This is divided into 32 sections with hidden doors and door locks which are none too easy to locate. And, of course, the screens feature a whole host of hostile life.
Luckily your Punkoids are provided with no fewer than six weapon systems. There are two types of sideways fire, killing one alien at a time or any that get caught by a burst. There's vertical fire and there are bouncing bombs which have a path like a psychotic ping-pong ball.
Finally, for those tight spots, there's random eight-directional fire and even a brief spell of invisibility (though the brilliant design of the cassette inlay means the details of how this operates are lost because of a hole, punched in the card).
Tantalus is from the same author as last year's release, Glass which was much praised for its graphics. Once again Paul Hargreaves has come up with a landscape painted from the can labelled psychedelic.
But just as Glass was criticised for being little more than a good looking shoot 'em up, Tantalus is little more than a pretty maze game with some blasting thrown in.
I haven't actually got much to say against the game ... but then again there's not much to say in its favour.
Sure, its big and will take ages to complete, but my overall reaction is so-what.
At a budget price I might have felt it was something special but at nearly £9 it is quite unexceptional.
Author: Paul Hargreaves
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Reviewer: Jerry Muir
Too many screens, all very much the same. If you're still awake after the first few hundred i'll be surprised.