39 Steps
1987
Arcade: Adventure
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

52,53
Tamara Howard
Chris Bourne

Triaxos just about the meanest, nastiest, highest-securitiest prison complex in the galaxy. And you've got to go there and break somebody out. Because he's the only guy who knows how to operate the most powerful weapon ever made, and you need the information before the enemy get it.

So you are transported on the complex and you've got thirty minutes to get the hell out of there with the prisoner. But there's an additional problem. The other side have got a dastardly mind probe (remind you of a certain scene in a certain hugely popular SF film?) and it's arriving in ten minutes to extract the info in the most unpleasant way possible So the race is on.

At first glance, Triaxos appears to be just another 3D room game, and a pretty dull at that. But stay with it. There's a lot going on.

It has all the popular elements: walk about a bit, fire at things that fire at you, fire at things that don't fire at you, pick up things and rescue people.

But it's not an easy game.

Triaxos is set up as an enlarged Rubik's Cube sort of thing. You begin at the air lock and take out a few grade 1 droids, recognisable by the large number one painted on them. You roll around a few rooms, waste a few droids, step on a strange square in the floor and disappear!

This is a face-lift, not as you might think, a popular American surgical procedure for rejuvenating octogenarians, but a transporter sort of machine. It can dematerialise you, turn the room upside down, rematerilaise you, and thing take on a whole new perspective. The face lift is particularly useful when you materialise in a room with no apparent exits. Because then you can blow a hole in the floor, turn the room around, make the hole a door and just walk through into the next room.

A word of warning here. If you find yourself in a room without a face lift, you're going to have to jump through the hole. But if you can possibly avoid it, do. Because you might well blow a hole above another hole, fall through two floors and end up as a splattered mess. So take care.

Game play is, er, slow, it takes a good few seconds for a bullet to travel across the screen. But you have to think quite hard about which way to turn, so it's probably just as well that you aren't being bombarded from all sides.

Keeping a map to the rooms is a sensible idea, if you can do it while you're being turned around and materialised upside down. Drawing maps whilst standing on your head is a tricky business.

Triaxos is not going to win awards for being completely, brilliant, but it's a good solid sort of game, with a combination of cunning and brutal aggression necessary to win.

Label: Ariolasoft
Price: £8.99
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tamara Howard

Rescue the prisoner against all the odds. Not the most dynamic of games, but the transporter idea is neat.

7/10