Go!
1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

108
Kati Hamza, Mark Caswell, Paul Sumner
Chris Bourne

It takes many years to train a cadet in the Steller Imperium's pilot academy, and at the end of that time they very often feel that they're ready to face anything. To keep them in their place, the instructors devised one last test: the X12 fighter simulator, aptly nicknamed 'Bedlam'.

From the title screen. Bedlam offers both a one player game, plus a dual player mode in which two pilots are given the chance to co-operate in killing the aliens or, if they feel particularly mean, trying to kill each other.

There are 15 space stations, ten moonscapes and four pinball tables to breach before the budding cadets can earn their wings. Space station surfaces are immediately difficult to negotiate since they are bristling with radar installations, guns, and missiles. Further opposition is then provided by aliens vessels which swarm at the player's craft in large formations. These are shot to award the player a hefty bonus, but collision with enemy fire and static targets proves fatal to the ship, three of which are provided for the mission.

To aid in the task, there are useful items scattered around the screen: flashing diamonds are destroyed to uncover hidden objects, including extra firepower, additional lives and shields, while collision with a teleport symbol warps the player to one of the game's four pinball tables. The aim here is to gain as many points as possible, and hitting either a X2 or a X10 scoring amplification factor is the ultimate goal since the player's score in the main game is briefly multiplied by the relevant amount.

Also making their presence felt are large alien motherships. These heavily armed and armoured craft can be destroyed for bonus points and a very welcome shot of invincibility, although each time they are destroyed they become more powerful on their next visit.

CRITICISM

'Bedlam is an impressive game to look at: the graphics, particularly in the pinball bonus game, are colourful and have some interesting features. The gameplay, with unsuspected dangers lurking everywhere, is also unusually varied for a shoot-'em-up; by introducing motherships, magnetic force fields and pinball games, the programmers have obviously tried to create something out of the ordinary. Unfortunately the action isn't quite fast enough to make the most of all these features. Control of the spacecraft is sluggish (you always seem to be forcing the joystick) and as a result the game lacks a compulsive edge. Hardened blasters probably won't find this a drawback; others should think twice before releasing their cash.' KATI

'Bedlam is a very apt name for this game, as complete pandemonium breaks loose about the poor old player's ears. Graphically the game is very good, with some nicely drawn alien battle formations zipping around equally well drawn and solid looking backdrops. One feature I particularly like is the bonus pinball tables that crop up every now and then. These not only look nice, but play just like the real thing, the ball spinning around the screen in a very realistic manner. Playability is high from the start, as huge formations of mean and bloodthirsty aliens charge down the screen after your blood. Add to that the great pinball tables, and you have a very enjoyable game. In my opinion, Bedlam is well worth the asking price.' MARK

'Now this is more like it. Just lately, products coming out of the GO! offices have been disappointing to say the least, but by all accounts Bedlam could be the game to turn GO! around. Although coming from the same family as Slap Fight, Flying Shark and every other vertically scrolling variant, Bedlam has one great difference - It's NOT monochrome! Gone are the frustrating shouts of, 'What hit me?' and 'I couldn't even see that!'. The technique may be old, dating all the way back to Lightforce, but I don't think I've seen it implemented in such an impressive way before. Bedlam sure is what the title suggests: constant action all the way through with hardly any hold-ups. Its only flaw is that the game tends to speed up and slow down in unison with the amount of enemies on screen. If all you want is basic blasting fun then Bedlam could be the one for you.' PAUL

COMMENTS
Joysticks: Cursor. Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: all the colour without the clash, made frantic with some fast animation and scrolling
Sound: average spot effects and poor tune
Options: definable keys and one or two players or two players simultaneously
General Rating: Probably Go!'s best release yet. The sequential and dual play options add longer lasting appeal. Sadly, ONLY on the 128k Spectrum.

76%
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Screenshot Text

'Go!'s best release yet'

'Colourful and interesting features.'