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Ocean Software Ltd
1984
Arcade: Action
£5.90
English
ZX Spectrum 16K
None

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76
Chris Bourne

Ocean have been quite consistent in their games, bringing out a series of well written and well designed programs on traditional themes. Transversion is probably one of their best yet, combining those two important qualities of any good arcade game, simplicity of idea and the sort of addictiveness that would keep you pumping in your money if you were in an arcade. It is also neatly packaged with an exciting inlay, and perhaps the first on-screen title that actually looks like the cover of the cassette.

THIS IS WHAT YOU DO
You are Captain of the Elimax and your mission is to enter the Galactic Grid and ellininate the alien pods, passing over them with your Raydon field. Fortunately the Raydon field is a very advanced piece of technology so there's no firing to take care of. Like Quicksilva's Gridrunner, a bright red grid opens up before you - the Galactic Grid - but fortunately the similarity with Gridrunner ceases there. The 'pods, which are alien spawn in reality, appear as bright blue dots arranged in symmetrical patterns over the grid, and the Elimax appears in the centre.

The alien Guardians can be seen on all four edges of the grid, top, bottom and both sides. These move constantly along their axis, firing very solid looking missiles at you. Should you remain stationary, or travel along a single grid line for more than a moment, the aliens will line up and fire - they home in instantly. At any one moment you can find yourself having to dodge four missiles.

In fact the travel speed of the missiles is the same as your ship, and not particularly fast, but the effect of having so many on screen is quite unnerving.

The arrangement of the pods on the grid is critical too. Ones which are patterned in spirals mean wasting lots of time clearing them up - ones in straight lines tempt you to clear them up at a run, which means the enemy can home in on you before you know it. Losing a life means having to start all over again on that grid. If you clear the first sheet, the second (it alternates between every other sheet from then on) is a green spawn arranged in a spiral and very close to the sides where you're in the most danger. But more points are awarded for each pod eliminated, so if you lose a life here, you're almost certain to get to the third sheet, and so on.

GENERAL
The packaging is excellent and the cover picture describes the nature of the game very well. The inlay contains detailed loading and playing instructions, which are repeated on screen. Control keys are Q/A = up/down, N/M = left/right. There is a hold and restart function.

Several joysticks are catered for in the screen menu. On screen scoring and hi-score are shown, along with grid level and lives left. '

CRITICISM

'The graphics are small and simple but they move very well.'

'As far as the graphics go, I don't think any improvement could be made. It has excellent keyboard layout and the program is very responsive. It has a good use of colour.'

'The colour was nothing special, but the keyboard layout is good and easy to control. I thought the sound was very good.'

'Well used sound effects, with some recognisable tunes.'

'The graphics, though simple and small, are to the point and very smooth. There is continuous sound and the tune "Congratulations" if you make a new hi-score. I found the keyboard positions so good, that they were easier to play with than a joystick. This is a very nail-biting game and addictive to a danger level! I also found the graphics to be extremely accurate, in the sense that you can almost brush a missile and not lose a life - none of the "but it didn't hit me" arguments here.'

'A game that will not be tired of easily.'

'A game to come back to.'

COMMENTS
Keyboard positions: very good
Joystick options: Kempston, Quickshot. AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: very easy and responsive
Use of colour: mixed opinions, average to good
Graphics: excellent
Sound: very good
Skill levels: none mentioned, but it does get harder
Lives: five
General Rating: Highly recommended.

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