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Melbourne House
1989
Arcade: Action
£9.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

26
Phil South
Chris Bourne

You're scanning the horizon, but you can see nothing, no sign of them. But they're there, you know it. Stumping along on their tripods, slowly, deftly avoiding obstructions. They're there all right. They were spotted by the forward station just before it went off air, that is. That funny scream, sharply cut off by a burst of static. What happened to them? Let's hope it was quick... then you catch a glimpse, a red metallic shape moving surely through the rocks to the south. You kick in the treads of your DVS and head towards it at half speed, power up your laser bolter, not daring think about what you're going to find. The Terrorpods are here.

Wow! I must admit that I never expected this game to pop up on the old Speccy. This has been a big hit on the 16 bit machines ever since PCW last year, I think. And very fancy and colourful graphics they were too, scrolling back and forth and side to side across an alien landscape in your Defense Strategy Vehicle in search of the deadly Terrorpods, horrific tripedal creatures with long pointy snouts.

Well the scrolling is here, as are the pointy snouts but where s the colour, guys? Sheesh, I thought this was going to be a blasterama, but no such luck, it seems.

You have limited fireballs to destory the evil strutting Terrorpods, and with the interial roll of the scrolling (you continue to move, even though you've stopped pushing in that direction) it's quite hard to draw a bead on the little devils. I thought the Terrorpods were supposed to suck my brains out through a straw, or something, being towering evil alien beings... but the sprites which met my eyes on the screen were a bit on the widdly side. Yowch! Oh dear. They seemed to have sucked my brain out! Yes, when a Terrorpod gets close to you, all your energy drains out through the hull of your ship, blowing one of your lives.

Another way you can meet your doom (don't you jest lurve the word 'doom'?) is from the many guided missiles which are fired at you by the Terrorpods mother ship, a fiendish red shape which hovers menacingly over the horizon. You can outmanoeuvre them by steering hard right or left and forward, I discovered, so they aren't really a problem. Except for the fact that while you're dodging the missiles, the Terrorpods have not only got past you, but they've also sneaked into your house and eaten your dinner, Okay, so I was only joking about the dinner, but they do get a chance to disrupt your power plants, and that, bucko, is your job! To stop them doing that!

I actually enjoyed playing Terrorpods, but I had misgivings about it as a game, feeling like I'd seen the like before and if it had superb colour graphics and sound it might have been just alright. But as a mono game it lacked a real spark of genuis somehow, and was a bit boring and repetitive. But that said, it's a well made game, and I liked the idea of it. Check it out before you buy.

Skillful conversion from 16 bit smash hit. Gameplay is fast, animation and graphics good, but lacks a certain flash of brilliance.

8/10
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