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1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
None

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35
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it's a giant orbiting prison that has been constructed above the Earth's surface to contain the world's most dangerous prisoners. And guess who's stuck in it and pretty keen to escape? Yup, you, in this case playing the part of a mercenary called Warmonger.

The prison consists of a series of platforms which scroll vertically up the screen. They're patrolled by armed guards, so as well as trying to avoid falling off the platforms it's a good idea to dodge the guards' bullets. If you can find the time, why not dispatch one or two of them with your pump-action machine gun, or a rocket launcher if you can find one?

And there's more! If you've got a friend handy (unlikely if you're a true Trainspotter) he can become Mandroid, history's most dangerous man, and you can march hand-in-hand down the aisle to defeat the enemy. Once you've done this you'll be able to clamber into a waiting shuttle and travel first class back to earth.

First impressions of UCM are of a very neat little Ikari Warriors clone. The scrolling is smooth and the sprites are neatly drawn and animated. Unfortunately, the collision detection is a bit dodgy, so it's best to give the guards a wide berth and pour several shots into each of them to be on the safe side. If you're one of the elite few with a 128K Speccy, there are even some cool tunes to get you into the feel of things.

Where the game falls down is in its lack of variety. There are no extra stages or different soldiers to blast. The terrain is just the same design all the way through, and things start to get a bit tedious after a while. Still, it's got a few hours life in it and the two-player option brightens it up a bit.

Hardly an earth-shattering title, but for under three quid it's certainly got potential.

A fairly average scrolling shoot 'em up. Cheap and cheerful.

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