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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Thrust was a cult game on the Commodore and was, for a time, out at full price on that machine.

It looks, superficially, ridiculously simple. That must be the reason for the budget tag because in other respects the game is very clever, quite original and very entertaining.

Graphically Thrust's simple shapes and plain backgrounds remind me of the earliest arcade games - Meteor Storm, (Asteroids) in particular. Your ship is a wobbly triangle, you try to grab klystron pods (circles) with your tractor beam (a straight line). Getting in the way of this are limpet guns powered by a nuclear power plant (mixed circles and rectangles).

This simplicity is rather deceptive. Underneath it is a gameplay that demands real careful handling.

By shooting at the power station you can temporarily disable the guns; blast it too much and it explodes however. Managing to get the pod, drag it into the atmosphere and simultaneously send the reactor critical thereby blowing up the planet and escaping is good. You get big points.

The real challenge of the game however is gravity. The action of gravity on your ship and the careful way you must use your thrust control to accurately steer it is where the real skill comes in. This is particularly true of moving the ship when the pod is held in its tractor - the pod swings round chaotically as you attempt to change direction and sends you splattering into the side of the planet.

Learning how to master the effects of gravity on your ship is the art of the game. As levels move on so the planet landscape you have to negotiate to get the pod becomes ever more complex and ever more likely that you are going to end up splattered against something. Finally, in the very advanced levels you get reverse gravity which is the whole problem backwards.

Fiendish and very inventive. Don't be put off by its simplistic appearance. This is one hell of a game and at £1.99 an absolute bargain.

Label: Firebird
Author: Smith/Lowe
Price: £1.99
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Simple graphics but don't let that mislead you. This is a game for serious arcaders. Budget brilliance - don't miss it.