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Quicksilva Ltd
Paul Hargreaves
1986
Arcade: Maze
£8.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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36
Luke C
Chris Bourne

What do you get if you cross Quicksilva's Games Designer with the Beatles' cartoon film 'Yellow Submarine'? Something that looks very like its new release, Tantalus.

There's a long and complicated story involving all sorts of Sci-fi nonsense - how come all insert card writers want to be Douglas Adams? But, basically, its an old plot tarted up - you play the part of a Spike Punkoid ... a spikey-haired mutoid, would you believe ... who has to search around a 1000-odd screens to assassinate the last deviant human being in the universe. Of course, it's not that easy - apart from anything else, the chap you're after is holed up in the middle of the 16-by-16 maze, safe behind a series of 32 doors. Each of these doors has to be opened with a well-aimed laser blast ... but first you'll have to decide which of six different types of laser you're going to use!

You'll also have to deal with 48 different kinds of alien baddies, each with 16 different flight patterns. They're all sorts of funny shapes, and they come at you from all directions, but they don't shoot at you ... they just get in your way.

Looking through the list of hassles the game throws in your path - such as the materialising walls, the acid baths, the lightning flashes and so on - none are really what you might call deadly. Yes, if you hang around in the path of a wall that suddenly decides to materialise, you're in trouble. But if you're careful, it's no real problem staying alive for a respectable time ... certainly enough to convince yourself that you actually have a chance of breaking down a few of the doors and having a go at the assassination attempt.

The screens do look very much alike - how else do you get over 1000 screens into 48K? - but they're all fun, and extremely colourful.

After a few hours play, I didn't get anywhere near to assassinating the deviant. In fact, I spent most of the time floating around the tunnels trying to work out where I was. The movement of little Spike and his spaceship is nice and smooth, especially the little 'bounce' when he jumps from a height.

You'll probably get accused of being a hippy if you get caught playing this game too much. But you're recommended to check it out. ma-a-a-an' It's freaky!!

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Screenshot Text

As you zoom through the 'Rainbow' airlock, your spaceship suddenly ejects its passenger... and you're controlling Spike, the lovable Punkoid.

This is the ol' scoreboard - points are gained for shooting the alien hordes and opening doors within the maze.

This here's a measure of your energy. Keep it out of the red area and you'll be okay. There's no way to up your energy, so it's down to you taking some care negotiating all the baddies.

You get four lives in the game. Doesn't sound like many but, if your're careful and don't just blunder through each of the traps, you'll find you can stay alive long enough to explore most everywhere.

You have a choice of six lasers - from a 'bouncing football' blast to one with random firepower. There's also the option to disappear from your enemies for a few seconds.

Controlling the Punkoid/spaceship is real easy - just a matter of left, right and jump. Choosing which laser to use is the most difficult decision!