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Vortex Software
Costa Panayi
1984
Arcade: Action
£5.95
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

Other Links


14,15
Chris Bourne

Tornado Low Level (TLL) is from the same programmer who brought us Android and Android 2 and it bears a family likeness to the graphics of Android 2. Again, we have a rapidly scrolling series of three dimensional graphics which will move across the screen in any direction. The Tornado of the title is a swing wing jet fighter which you control in a mission to eradicate a series of evil dots on the landscape. In this respect all the missions can be seen as training, since the 'enemy' dots in question are spattered around the very buildings which make up the township around your base.

The total playing area is about 36 times the size of the screen display which consists of a square, offset so that to the right are the instruments. These include 'radar view some 4 times the screen area on which targets appear as white dots, an altimeter, fuel gauge, targets destroyed status and time.

The landscape is seen, as in Android 2 from a severe birds eye view perspective. Ground level is approximately one third of the way up the altimeter as features included are sea and cliffs, which means sea level is way below ground level. On the ground features include low and tall buildings, pylons and electric lines, trees, roads and bridges over rivers.

The game commences with a glimpse of the total playing area map, before cutting to the base with the Tornado ready at the end of the runway. Visually, height above the surface is indicated by the shadow of the aircraft which alters accurately depending on the terrain being flown over. Targets are destroyed quite simply by flying over them at virtually zero feet. There are five targets to destroy and when these have gone, more are provided in different positions.

Some targets are randomly placed, even in the water, which may mean underflying the bridge. If your fuel runs low it is possible to land and refuel, turn around and take off again.

CRITICISM

'TLL is a worthy successor to Android 2. One thing to be said is that it isn't actually as arcade exciting as Android Z but that isn't a drawback, because it offers another sort of excitement, not quite simulation, not quite arcade, but somewhere in between. Although it is possible to destroy targets when you are visibly some feet above the ground, you get far more points d you are tower still, so there is a self competitive element in the game. Another thing to watch out for is that there is a tower too tall to fly over. The graphics are remarkably clean looking with a strong use of colour to define buildings, cliffs etc., and full use of normal and bright to create shadows. The 3D effect of your shadow works extremely well, breaking up quite accurately if you are half over a building. I enjoyed TLL as a very playable game and to date I still find it addictive.'

'Watch out for the 2-part loader. First part tells you to disconnect all peripherals except for the Sinclair add-ons. First time round I ignored it (never unplugging the Kempston) and the program crashed. TLL is, in a word, brilliant. The 3D effect really works, it's just as if you're looking down on a real plane flying over a landscape. The graphics are not super-detailed but are very good. I found this game playable and addictive and after a while I found myself flying under bridges, power cables and manoeuvring around trees at low level. In my opinion, this one takes the biscuit.'

'The shadowing works very well in this game to create a sense of depth. This includes the use of normal and bright colours on cliffs, buildings and bridges as well as the shadow of your aircraft. The only inconsistency here is that the aircraft shadow doesn't get bigger or smaller as you go up or down. Flying under bridges and high power cables works very well, as does the effect of low flying behind cliffs, where the shape of your plane may disappear altogether. The only graphical crib is the lack of detail in the buildings, where maybe a few windows would have helped. Sound used is a fair roar or a beep, a nice touch is that on take off the engine note changes when you have achieved sufficient speed for take off. Perhaps a better white noise sound generation would have been better for engine sound. Instructions were not as clear as I would have liked and there appeared to be no real indication as to objectives, or how to go about them. I feel this game probably lacks a little in content, perhaps a few enemy aircraft would have made it more lively. Overall, quite good'

COMMENTS
Control keys: I/Q up/down, G/H bank left/right, X = take off or change wing mode, M = map (on the ground)
Joystick: ZX 2
Keyboard play: responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: mixed opinions from 'brilliant ' to 'fair, needed more detail'
Sound: average
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: continuously scrolling
Originality: very original
General Rating: Addictive and difficult, generally recommended.

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Screenshot Text

"Scramble TLL - 5 enemy dots at zero feet..."

TLL's shadow - a graphic that really works.