There are some things in the world you just can't get enough of - England test centuries, peanut butter and Star Trek to name but a few. And where the Speccy's involved, it's funny how certain themes come up again and again and again...
Like howzabout this one then. "You are captain of the Terra Cresta. Fly your space fighter up the planet as the surface scrolls down towards you. Eliminate the alien forms, rockets, missiles and structures which stand in your way and attempt to destroy them." What sort of game do you think that is? Arcade-adventure? Strategy? No, oaf, it's another riproarin' gookzappin' lipsmackin' thirstquenchin' megascrollin' shoot 'em up? Bring in the autofire joystick. James. (Yes m'lord.)
Imagine doesn't faff about with its zappers. No mystical quest for you to journey on, at great personal risk to you, your family and everyone else in the known universe. No voyage of justice to vanquish the evil alien foes who've invaded this once proud whatnot. No, just "de gooks are dat way - go get 'em".
Fresh from the arcades, Terra Cresta is the latest of many similar scrollers to hit the Spectrum in the past few months. In this one the idea is to pick up bits of hardware on the way to fortify your ship, while of course annihilating anything that moves. The graphics are in the now familiar mould of Uridium and Light Force, with the playing area restricted to the right hand side of the screen. The music's good too - that pschht klangaklanga pschht stuff that drove Cobra fans round the bend. There's only one snag - it's all so slow.
Ah, the old programmers' problem - do you go for whizzy graphics or superspeed? The Spectrum won't let you have both. Imagine has obviously weighed the pros and cons, and gone for the whizzy graphics. This makes the game very hard to play. If you're to get anywhere you'll need a very sturdy joystick and a great deal of luck.
Along with the mistake (I think) of making the first wave of flashes as difficult to get past as any in the early stages, its doziness makes Terra Cresta hard to recommend.
Still, if you're into stunning graphics rather than fast gameplay, this may well be just what you've been looking for. Me? I've always preferred living life in the fast lane.