1985
Arcade: Maze
£3.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

21
Clare Edgeley
Chris Bourne

THUNDERBIRDS are go! With a hiss the swimming pool slides back to reveal Thunderbird One. Meanwhile, Thunderbird Two makes a sudden exit from the face of a cliff.

"Virgil! I'm going in," screams Scott as he roars between the pyramids. "F.A.B. I'm right behind," yells Virgil and Thunderbirds One and Two disappear from sight as they enter the intricate maze of an ancient pharaoh's tomb.

Trapped in that crumbling monument are some eminent Egyptologists. The oxygen supply is almost exhausted. One rescue team has failed already. Scott and Virgil will have to use all their initiative to get them out alive. The pharaohs were a devious bunch and to prevent the tomb being ransacked, they erected a device whereby great stone blocks would fall in the paths of any who entered.

Thunderbird One can move the blue blocks, and Thunderbird Two, the green. Both can shift the red blocks. However, the passages are narrow, there are many that the bulkier Thunderbird Two cannot negotiate, and shifting blocks around without due forethought could leave Scott and Virgil in peril.

Artefacts and treasures can be picked up en route which will help your score, and fuel dumps can be utilised for a longer playing time. The famous Thunderbirds theme tune accompanies the rescue mission, but it can be turned off for some blessed silence.

Thunderbirds is brilliant, a gigantic puzzle which will tax your ingenuity and powers of logic. Blocks may have to be moved two or even three times until they are out of the way.

The game is nicely balanced with some arcade sequences - not that you have to shoot at anything. But you will have to negotiate a spider's web, patrolling guardians and mummies amongst others. A choice of weapons and equipment is given at the start and if you make the right choices, those will be implemented automatically when you reach the arcade screens, knocking out obstructions and affording you an easy path to the exit.

I haven't enjoyed myself so much for a long time. The game is not particularly fast; the graphics are quite basic but more than adequate. But figuring out those puzzles has me hooked.

In the words of Scott, Virgil, Gordon and Co - F.A.B.

Clare Edgeley

Publisher: Firebird
Price: £3.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston

*****

5/5