This is not going to be a very pleasant job. Disease-infested spaceships are returning to Earth from the once healthy colony on Jupiter's moon, lo. They must not be allowed to reach their destination and spread their sickness.
In Thunderceptor, one of two games on this tape from US Gold's recently-launched label GO!, you command one of the craft in a fleet sent to destroy the colonists. Your multidirectional spacefighter carries both Phaser and Super Phaser systems - the latter effective against large spacecraft - and a defensive shield. All these are served by a single, limited power supply, and the energy complement of each can be altered.
On encountering the 'lo-fleet', you are met by waves of attack craft varying in their manoeuvrability and fire power. At some stage large mother ships and fighters appear, and these must be hit many times with Phaser power, sometimes with unerring accuracy, before they succumb. Points are awarded for every craft destroyed.
Meteor storms, satellites and wrecks also add spice to this space battle. After completing the first level, you can prowess to the next of the five, receiving medals and promotion as you go.
Flying by the seat of your pants on a magic carpet in Old Baghdad while working for the military is the name of the game in The Fast And The Furious, on the other side of the tape.
Your first mission is to deliver important papers to a base on the other side of the desert - but there's more to this silicon wasteland than sand, sand, more sand and cacti.
Though the desert is larger than the beach at Weston-super-Mare at low tide, the villains and brigands who live there seem to have no difficulty in finding you. Riding their shagpiles and Axminsters they come at you, and any contact with them, or with the fireballs that they unleash, loses you stamina.
You can return their fire - but be warned; you're not facing just a cutthroat band out to do you down, but also centipedes, dragons, bats and scorpions, any of which can inflict untold damage on even the hardiest carpeteer.
You can collect useful items by flying your carpet over them, in a sort of reverse hoovering marked by icon displays.
The objects collected, which include dollars. pounds, oil, hearts, flags, guns and musical notes, can be used in dealings with the villain's leader - he can be found at the end of each desert section. You can placate him by giving him the correct icons, and the result is a rise in your stamina level.
Once your dealings with the despicable rogue are finished, leap once more onto your carpet to do battle on three more levels with more dragons, more no goods and more danger.
'The Ernieware programmers have their act together when it comes to designing pretty graphics, but their problem is knowing what to do with them: Thunderceptor is awfully boring and monotonous. Each section contains the same old ships over and over again in slightly different combinations. However, the individual graphics are exceptionally well-drawn and used with animation to match. The Fast And The Furious is WEIRD; I've seen nothing like it in a long time. The game may basically be your old favourite shoot-'em-up, but the objects used are very strange; besides the usual bats and spiders there are also flying-carpet flights. As with Thunderceptor, the basic game construction is very simple and thus there's endless repetition.' Thunderceptor … 51%
The Fast And The Furious … 68%
'Thunderceptor has all the feel of a well-programmed game and quite a lot of playability - but it doesn't last. Despite its fast gameplay and large graphics, it's simply not addictive. And a more appropriate title for the other game on this tape would be The Fast And The Furious But A Bit Unaddictive! Again, it's very playable for a few minutes, but once you've adjusted to the speed (which certainly makes the game more interesting) and you know the first dozen attack waves, there's very little compulsion to carry on.'
Thunderceptor … 58%
The Fast And The Furious … 52%
'GO! has really chosen the right name for The Fast And The Furious - the gameplay is so fast you don't know what you're doing half the time! The enemies really speed along and firing at them as they go by can be a problem. Apart from the sickly colour, the graphics are well-defined, with some good animation here and there. But the spot FX aren't very good and at the start, where you'd expect to find a tune, there are birds singing (goodness knows why!). And though it's quite original, I doubt this game will appeal to the budding arcade player for long. As for Thunderceptor, I've really had enough of all the recent Zynaps clones. Xecutor (reviewed last Issue) was just Zynaps turned through 90 degrees, and Thunderceptor is simply Zynaps sped up with the backgrounds taken away. But the game is quite decent and the graphics are adequately detailed. Both the screen layout and the way the enemies move are similar to The Fast And The Furious; in fact you might think it's just the graphics that have been changed.'
Thunderceptor … 82%
The Fast And The Furious … 69%
: Cursor, Kempston, SinclairGraphics
: very fast and quite colourfulSound
: not an awful lot apart from a few bells and whistlesGeneral Rating:
Both are adequate shoot-'em-ups with average lastability.
The threat comes from outer space in Thunderceptor...