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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Sue Denham
Chris Bourne

Don't expect to sit down and play this game within a few minutes. The cassette inlay card contains so much information that you'd be best advised to transfer all the relevant key data down on to a separate piece of paper and display it above the screen while playing.

The plot is complex in the extreme, but here's the gist of it. You have to land a small space craft on a robot-run planet and shut down its fusion reactor - and all of this must be completed in the time limit shown on-screen! On board the craft you have a variety of lasers, defensive shields, missiles, flares, infra-red sights, scanners, computers and so on - all of which are at your command... if you can find the right key at the right time, that is!

The screen's just as confusing, with windows for all the data you need as you descend to the planet. But each window holds necessary details of your mission if you want to come out alive - again, a careful read of the instructions is necessary. Use of the computer is extremely helpful once you've landed the space craft - and there are 20 commands you can use to carry out various tasks within the reactor that'll destroy it.

Tau-Ceti is a game of great complexity, but one that is rewarding once you figure out exactly what you're meant to be doing. The graphics are well done, and the action's very impressive on-screen. It does take an hour or so to really sort out any playing tactics... but maybe this is testament to the game's addictiveness.

And if you don't fancy sitting down for hours at a time in front of a red-hot Spectrum, you can always save the half-finished game and finish it later. Can't say fairer than that, can you?