V

Ocean Software Ltd
1986
Arcade: Action
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

26
Chris Bourne

A race of reptilian aliens, the Visitors, threatens to take over the world. A resistance movement has been formed to try to prevent this, which is where you come in: playing Michael Donavan, fearless leader of the resistance movement who aims to destroy the aliens single handed.

Having sneaked aboard the Visitor's Mothership he scuttles round, planting bombs in key locations. However, Diana leader of the alien horde has spotted your presence and is doing her best to make sure you don't succeed. Devilish Diana has commanded her army of robots to search you out and put a stop to your plan.

Four types of robots have to be dealt with. Surveillance robots follow Donavan around the ship reporting back to Diana. Maintenance robots scuttle along the floor of the space craft fixing things while cleaner robots hover at head height tidying up. But it's the deadly security robots that Michael Donavan must really keep his eyes peeled for. They can be destroyed with a bolt from the laser gun, and points are won for obliterating them, but ammunition is severely limited.

The robots operate on high voltage electricity and contact with them gives Donavan a nasty Encounters with robots don't kill instantly, but they do put a strain on the heart. After too many collisions with robots, your heart gives out.

Windows at the bottom of the screen monitor progress. A green screen to the left shows messages being sent to the robots from Diana and helps you keep track of the robotic hot-spots. The middle screen includes a clock and under this the score is displayed. A lightning bolt reveals the laser's firepower and a cardiogram bleeps reassuringly at the start of the game, getting more irregular as Michael's heart is damaged.

Function keys are located on the right of the status area. From the top and moving clockwise the keys are as follows: a) allows the game to be paused or abandoned; b) calls up information on locations in the ship; c) allows you to lay your explosives; d) is the log-off button, used to return to the game; e) displays the security code in the green window while f) stores information about the red-dust formula that Earth has been developing to kill off the aliens.

Number keys to the right of the function keys, like all the numbers in the game, are in base six because the reptilian aliens only have six fingers! Every now and then the hero comes up against impenetrable security doors that can only be opened by inserting the correct code. However, he can move from level to level via teleport pads. To use these, stand him on one and press up to move up a level, or down to move down a level.

Will Michael Donavan manage to outwit the alien invaders, or will we have to sit through another series of V on the television to see if good triumphs over evil?

CRITICISM

'V has finally arrived and after all the hype the game hasn't turned out to be too bad. The alien's mother ship is a pretty drab place apart from the odd console room here and there, and a few laboratories if you can find them. I was very disappointed to find that there were lots of enemies on the ship but none of them were Visitors: instead there are these pesky little robots that literally get under your feet and don't engage in proper combat at all. The finish of the game is very good and you'll spend a long time on it if you play it fully. Unfortunately the writer(s) seem to have left out the TV tie-in, and thought up a game all of their own. Not so much for fans of the telly series as for serious arcade/adventure players'

'I'm not incredibly enthralled by V. The game has its good points, admittedly. The animation for Donavan's forward rolls is quite neat, but the backgrounds make the robots hard to see, and generally make the game look a bit of a mess. Once you get into V, it's fun to play, and it gets better the longer you spend with it I'm not sure that I'd come back to it a lot, but I played it for quite a while. Overall, not bad, but it could have been improved.'

'Controlling your man is not hard, but at first it is a little confusing. The icons are also quite easy The use after a bit of practice. The graphics are disappointing: there's a lot of colour clash and very little variety in the backgrounds. Your character is well animated, although sometimes it's hard to make him out against the garish backgrounds. The sound is minimal, with only a few spot effects. Generally this follows the trend of most Games-of-the-series in that it's disappointing.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: CAPS SHIFT left, X right, B to SPACE fire, P up, L down
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface2
Keyboard play: fine
Use of colour: effectively monochrome
Graphics: neat animation and smooth scrolling
Sound: continual noise
Skill levels: one
Screens: large scrolling playing area
General Rating: A neat arcade adventure, but where are The Visitors?

73%
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Screenshot Text

Looks like Donavan has got a slightly impassable problem on his hands on the top deck of the Alien Mothership...