1988
Arcade: Vehicle Combat
£7.99
£3.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

28
Chris Bourne

Half of this game is a lot like Roadblasters, in the loose sense that it involves car driving combined with missile shooting. Actually it's a very good Roadblasters type game, nice smooth scrolling road effect, well designed big car graphics and lots of action. Your car zooms along swerving and dodging to miss the bad guys cars and when in doubt you blast them off the road.

But that isn't all there is to Techno Cop. The plot has you pitted against a secret organisation of law breakers. You, Techno Cop equipped only with a missile laden sports car and magnum have to rush from felony to felony hunting out the criminals, capturing or killing them and rescuing hostages or valuables. A successful arrest earns you promotion and some extra equipment for your car. If you were Jim Douglas you'd go for a surround sound CD player but being sensible you'll probably get NUKE-EM missiles (a sort of smart bomb to blow all the currently visible traffic off the road) Turbocharger (more speed) or hydraulic side rams to bash other cars.

The game begins in the road section - it's simple enough at this point to dodge, ram or blast the enemy traffic on the road, but as you progress more and more traffic makes the going really difficult. At some point a message will tell you that a felony is in progress, give you a picture of the bad buy and instructions: arrest or kill. Speed on and soon your car will be led off the road to part two of the game.

Part two takes place on foot and basically it's a glorified platforms and ladders game. Your man can run and jump, go up and down in lifts and pick up useful items. These might include, first aid boxes (repairs any current damage to your person), tool boxes (repairs damage to car) and money (bonus points). There are also hostages for you to rescue for more bonus points.

You have limited time in which to find the criminal before he escapes and a direction indicator to help you track him but the maze of misleading dead ends, elevators that go the wrong way and hordes of enemy henchmen mean its pretty difficult. It gets more tricky as you pass to later crimes, if only because the buildings get bigger and bigger and the wrong turnings and cul-de-sacs get more and more frequent.

If you do nab the bad guy you'll get promoted and given some gear for the car. On to the next level. Sometimes you'll be asked to arrest rather than kill the felon - for this you have a 'Net' option which enables you to cast a net over the bad guy.

The 'interior' graphics are pretty good - quite big, tolerably well animated and moderately varied. Backgrounds tend to be a bit samey.

Although Techno Cop does have a slight feel of the 'two games stuck together' syndrome. I really enjoyed it. The way the bonuses and extra car gear are interlinked between the two sections unifies the game pretty convincingly. The game planning is excellent - easy to get through the first stage, increasingly difficult afterwards.

So, nothing stunningly original in either part but Techno Cop is still seriously addictive and a serious contender for any 'must have in Christmas stocking' awards.

Label: Gremlin
Author: In-house
Price: £7.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer:

Brilliant cross between Roadblasters and Robocop nothing astoundingly original but plays great.

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