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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

The first batch of programs from a new company sees some old faces turning up. Stephen Curtis, author of the budget hit Non Terraqueous has forsaken MASTERTRONIC for this outfit.

You play the part of some mining engineers trying to escape a rather unwelcoming planet in their scout ship. In this vertically scrolling shoot-em-up, you've got to shoot nasties, dodge obstacles and move over particular parts of the landscape to pick up lives and bonuses.

The landscape consists of squares which fall into a number of varieties. There are obstacles, to be avoided at all costs. There are fuel squares. Fuel is used up fairly rapidly, so unless you pass over such squares fairly regularly, the ship will fall out of the sky. Some squares will briefly increase your speed, whilst others will slow you down - these are vital to get round some of the more tortuous mazes.

There are bonus squares, extra life squares, and force field squares which make the ship invincible for a short time. Time shift squares are to be avoided, as these stick you straight back at the beginning of the game, although you do keep your score. All this and lots of blasting too!


"I'm in two minds about this game, on the one hand it's a very playable pattern game come shoot 'em up and on the other It's an Infuriating piece of budget software that I can't play. There is nothing at all revolutionary here but it has all been put together in a very professional way. Graphically Terra Cognita is not wholly impressive but the screen scrolls well and the characters, although being small, are nicely drawn. The sound is a bit disappointing as there are no tunes but the spot effects aren't bad. All in all this is well worth two quid.'

'The scrolling play area is smooth, but it is very hard to differentiate between what is coming up on the ground, as it is all the same colour and shape. I found the game very hard to play at first but once you've got the play area mapped out you have got no more problems, as it is just a case of remember and avoid. I felt that I could have done with a few more lives as they didn't seem to be scattered about the planet in the most accessible of places. Terra Cognita is quite a decent shoot'em up or avoid'ems go, but as a game there isn't much to it.'

'A nice little shoot 'em up. If it were more expensive, then I would give it a bit of a murdering, but at this price, it makes a pretty little hour waster. I don't think it's got much lastability; I don 't think that it going to be playable for more than a day, but that, in my opinion justifies the price. The graphics aren't amazing, and the constant colour changing gets sore on the eyes sometimes, but the game is quite playable, and has echoes of that 'one more quick go' feeling about it.'

Control keys: Redefinable; left, right, forward, back, fire
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor, Protek
Keyboard play: not a good idea
Use of colour: minimal
Graphics: fast with some detail
Sound: rather dull
Skill levels: one
Screens: 100
General Rating: An addictive blast.


Screenshot Text

First section, look out for the walls and meanies coming up.

A meanie blasted just as you enter a high speed section.