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Code Masters Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Ben Stone, Mike Dunn, Paul Sumner
Chris Bourne

When the Sun's rays were no longer strong enough to heat the earth, Man burrowed deep beneath the ground, harnessing the heat generated by the planet's core to survive. Each successive generation burrowed deeper and deeper to capture what remained of the diminishing energy force, and as they moved core-wards, deadly weapons were left behind to fend off any alien invaders.

After many years in their subterranean prison, the remains of Mankind finally left their dead planet in search of a new home leaving the deadly legacy of weaponry n their wake.

However, it was inevitable that Man would eventually return to his old home.

Overlord Tenz, one of the first people to be born on the new world colonies, is despatched to destroy the defence systems of underworld Earth and make it safe for mankind's eventual return. Tenz travels to Earth in the most modem of fighting craft, carrying a standard photon cannon. The ship also contains one awesome addition - the Nucleonic Transmuter - a device capable of sucking in surrounding raw energy and converting it into pre-programmed forms.

An energy counter at the bottom left of the screen gives a running total of captured energy units. When a unit has been acquired a Transmute option appears on screen, choose this (using the select key) and the ship is equipped with extra manoeuvring speed. Otherwise, the energy unit can be saved urea another s collected and a second transmute option is offered. This adds firepower to the photon cannon, a third equips the ship with missiles, tour energy units supply a Laser, five a for a weapons add-on and six for a shield to protect you from enemy fire and collision.

As Tenz moves into the caverns, the dormant defence system kick into life and attack. Tenz can move his craft up, down, backwards and forwards to avoid these (and the equally deadly contact with tunnel walls). One hit is needed to dispense with enemy craft, and several to destroy a ground emplacement.


'Transmuter plays quite well (despite its shoddy appearance), and with a little perseverence it proves to be very compelling. The graphics are fair, there's a lot of detail in the cavern scenes and the screen scrolls well, but your craft flickers horribly. The sound is also well above average - in fact, the tune on the title screen doesn't sound like a Spectrum at all.' BEN

'I usually like shoot 'em ups, consequently I enjoyed my first few games of Transmuter - this didn't last long though. The more I progressed, and the more add-ons I collected, the more infuriating it became to lose a life and have to restart. The graphics are fine, but I' m afraid that all that stopping and starting put me off for good.' MIKE

'"Why pay more?" Announces the loading screen logo. Indeed, why should you when you can get a perfectly good Nemesis-type at a budget price. The only thing that put me off was the lack of pace (even collecting extra speed does little to quicken the proceedings).' PAUL

Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: black backgrounds and minimal variety elsewhere
Graphics: flickery spaceship, but generally good
Sound: great title tune, average effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: four
General Rating: An interesting and fairly priced horizontally scrolling shoot 'em up.


Screenshot Text

At times the graphics seem to have returned to those old Penetrator days.

Overlord Tenz hurtles through underworld Earth on his mission of reclamation in his super fighter (top left).