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1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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149
Chris Bourne

The Resistance movement is about to launch a huge offensive against a tyrannical Intergalactic Empire.

In preparation for this mammoth and probably suicidal assault, the Resistance has captured several battle-grade starships, only to discover that they are largely useless in war, as they are lacking the necessary Klystron pods which provide power. The catch is that these pods are only to be found on Empire-owned planets.

A volunteer must be found to steal enough Klystron pods for the mission to go ahead. As you yes, sonny, you are one of the most skilled pilots in the Resistance, just guess who the lucky blighter's going to be. Using all your skills, you must fly to each planet in turn and steal a pod, then drag it out of orbit to where it can be picked up by the Resistance.

Each planet is defended by a battery of limpet guns which are powered by a nuclear plant, and shooting at the plant puts the guns temporarily out of action. The more direct hits scored on the power plant, the longer it takes the limpet guns to recharge. But if too many shots are rained down upon the plant it becomes unstable, and you then have a mere ten seconds in which to grab a pod and pull back before the entire planet self destructs. If you've got away with the pod, then destroying the planet picks up a sizeable reward. Failure to retrieve the pod results in instant mission termination.

Your craft possesses only an upwards thrust, and downwards movements are controlled by gravity. You must constantly thrust away from the planet's powerful gravitational field which drags your craft towards the ground and ultimate destruction.

After each pod has been safely captured you automatically proceed to the next planet, each having its own peculiar characteristics. You will have to contend with reversed gravity and invisible landscapes before the game loops around and starts all over again.

And so, once more, the fate of the galaxy is in your trembling hands. Good luck, and good pod hunting!

CRITICISM

'After a lot of sweat and cursing I can honestly say that Thrust is the most compelling budget game I've played in months. At first it looks extremely primitive, with vector graphics that resemble the arcade classic Gravitar, limited use of colour and a front end that you can only access once. The levels are very hard to master, so remembering the layouts of the caverns is essential if you wish to do well. Controlling your ship is similar to all other Gravitar variants and takes a bit of getting used to and an awful lot of practice. I strongly recommend this one as a very good game at a very silly price!'

'I would have thought that the Spectrum would have been the perfect computer for Thrust: surely the programmers would be able to give it lots of speed and keep it one of the most playable games around. Unfortunately, as with most conversions, it has lost some of its sparkle in the transition from 6502 to Z80. There's no doubt that Thrust is fast - too fast at times -but it seems to have been poorly programmed. The borders for scrolling are all in the wrong place, and it fails to scroll sufficiently - which results in a very jerky screen when travelling at speed. The game lacks the sound that the original had and instead just replaces it with a stupid flashing border every time you hit anything. Thrust has lost most of the appeal of the original, and you're left with only the basics of the game.'

'This was an extremely playable game on other machines. The Spectrum version is, to me, just as good. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the sound has lost out on the conversion, but otherwise, Thrust is still very good value for money. The scrolling is poor, and the graphics are tiny, but, credit where it's due, FIREBIRD has a very playable game in Thrust. I like it a lot.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: redefinable
Joystick: keyboard only
Keyboard play: sensitive
Use of colour: economical
Graphics: archaic but adequate
Sound: spot FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: 24
General Rating: Not a totally successful conversion, but good fun all the same.

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76%

Screenshot Text

Cameron's just collected the pod doobrie in THRUST - all he's got to do is make his way to the planet's surface.

Cam's getting dangerously close to that defence emplacement. Mind you, he's near the fuel dumps...