Tucked away in an unknown fold of space is The Tube, a three-stage alien scrap-collection system rather like a massive galactic Steptoe yard. And, yes, you've flown into it.
The first area is the Transfer Zone, where your craft is drawn inexorably toward the bowels of The Tube through a nightmare of parasitic space organisms, energy whirls and debris. Your onboard lasers and smart bombs can destroy these potential destructors and earn you points - but distance and time indicators ominously chart the ship's progress toward the end of this zone... and the beginning of real danger.
The Transfer Zone leads into the horizontally-scrolling Defence Mechanism Tunnel. Here your ship can slow down, accelerate and move up and down through the passageway encrusted with missile silos, energy rays, sucker darts and bombs. Any of these can end one of your three lives - and there's also the danger of crashing into the tunnel walls.
For protection your ship carries shields which can be activated at any time during the first two stages of The Tube (draining energy), and a blaster which can take out many of the dangerous obstacles on the way to the Capture Area.
In this third section, the aliens hold disabled ships and take them apart. Your ship is seen from above flying through the mechanical graveyard: by very accurate docking with the old ships you can attach fuel pipes and siphon off their energy. Some of the junked remains have decayed, though, and they're almost useless - and energy is essential to maintain your ship's shields without which you'll be destroyed.
On getting through the Capture Area you've completed one of The Tube's eight sections, and the task can begin again.
'Some of The Tube's graphics aren't very good, but the Capture Area is effective if somewhat jerky. The Transfer Zone's 3-D effect doesn't quite work because objects come from the far background into the near foreground too quickly and the Defence Mechanism Tunnel is too long (though it's good fun at first).'
MIKE ... 59%
'It's not really much like the TV series, is it? I mean, where are Jools, Paula and Muriel? But seriously ... The Tube suffers from some big flaws. The first is the inlay, which claims 'astonishing' graphics; really they're unoriginal and crudely animated. All three stages are unplayable and boring: the first two are too easy, and the third only presents a challenge because it's unplayable. The tune and sound effects are the only good points of The Tube.'
PAUL ... 33%
'Nice graphics, shame about the game - not that it's especially poor. it's just not interesting for long. The graphics are good, particularly the backgrounds, and there 's a decent title tune, more game sound would improve play, though.'
MARK ... 49%
: Cursor, Kempston, SinclairGraphics
: monochromatic but effective play areaSound
: good title tune by David WhittakerGeneral Rating:
A standard space shoot-'em-up with some strong graphics.
The dustbin at the end of the universe: The Tube.