Now this is what I like. Terra Cognita is the perfect budget game - a simple idea nicely presented.
Mind you it's not surprising this is a very slick looking game - it's by NonTerraqueous programmer Stephen Curtis.
What it is, if it must be compared to anything, is a two- colour version of Lightforce mixed with elements of Uridium - not quite as good, maybe, but at £1.99.
Do you need a plot for this sort of thing? OK, then you are trying to pilot your ship over 100 smoothly scrolling screens to meet up with a mothership. Getting over those 100 screens will take a long time.
There are, of course, vast numbers of alien spaceships which come wizzing across the screen. At first they are easy to polish off but gradually things start to get tricky. That's the Lightforce bit - that and the style of the graphics.
The Uridium part comes with the fact that there are vast areas of block - like buildings on the planet's surface which you have to steer your way around. Gradually that becomes more and more difficult - sometimes it's almost (but not quite) impossible to get from one side of the screen to the other in time...
There are other features too, refuel squares, extra squares and, perhaps worst of all the time warp squares which send you right back to the beginning of the game. There are squares to slow you, squares which speed you up and you need to work out when to use both to get through some sections of the game.
The mix of extremely fast arcade action with the strong element of thought and planning make for a stunning game.
Terra Cognita is more entertaining and better programmed than most games at full price, yet it's a budget offering.
And it's by far the best of the new Spectrum releases from Code Masters.
Label: Code Masters
Author: Stephen Curtis
Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Superb arcade game with near Lightforce quality graphics and a lot of good ideas. A real test of your joystick control.