1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

20
Phil King, Mark Caswell, Nick Roberts
Chris Bourne

IT'S TIME TO SAVE THE WORLD AGAIN!

Earth was quiet... until the villains of the peace arrived and kicked mankind's butt with slimy green insistence. Yes, after entertaining us with excellent games like Rastan, Target Renegade, and Revenge Of Doh. Imagine now bring us the story of mankind's struggle to regain his planet and the right to eat Big Macs and fries while sizzling aliens on arcade machines.

The planet looks like a bomb's hit it (as indeed many have). But amid the ruins, small groups of humans survive. Deep in their hearts they pray for vengeance. One man alone has the courage to face the alien threat, he is known only as... (pause) The Vindicator.

The alien leader, Gog -aka the Dark Overlord - has built three strongholds. You, Vindicator, have to visit each in turn to gain the access codes to progress through to the third and final level, and there kill Gog, freeing Earth from his grim green grip.

The first stronghold is a maze of corridors covering four levels. Here you discover the whereabouts of bomb components which you collect, assemble and detonate (making sure you're well out ground zero's way at the time of course).

To aid your quest, you can enter various storerooms off the corridors. But first you must either dodge the guard or eliminate the horror with your large and very powerful gun. Storerooms contain colour-coded lift and computer passes, ammunition packs, or oxy-gum - the atmosphere is poisonous. When a computer room is entered of you have the correct pass), the computer sets an anagrammatical puzzle. Solve this correctly and a map is shown, informing you of the position of a bomb component, your position, and the whereabouts of the nearest lift. Once each of the four levels has been explored and the components found, set the bomb and run like hell.

The second section takes place across miles of enemy-held terrain. You're flying a plane stolen from the first section. Use it to drop bombs on the aliens' heads, (and serve 'em right). Be sparing, the bombs are limited in number.

The bombardment disorientates the enemy, so zoom back to your jeep and blast through their ranks. Robot tanks and helicopters strafe you, but nothing is going to stand between you and the catacombs hiding the Dark Overlord. Did I say 'nothing', well you haven't met the Mutoid Guardian yet. Make it past him, and you deserve to reach the third and final level.

The Vindicator is tough. Even with the access codes it took me a while to get through. But even though it's difficult, it is very enjoyable. The mean and moody looking Vindicator strides purposefully to war with bugeyed meanies, giving the game immediate graphic appeal.

Back to more pressing matters - the death of Gog.

The final search begins, appropriately enough, in Hades. As you explore the catacombs, Gog's minions try and bring about your demise by charging, firing their guns and gnashing their teeth, and looking very frightening.

Gog has heard of your plans to kill him, and has decided to blow up the catacombs. Speed is of the utmost importance.

As our hero gets near Gog (by way of lifts and trap doors), the aliens get meaner, and therefore harder to kill. But eventually Gog's lair is reached, and mankind can finally be avenged.

This game really is hard. Some people may be put off trying to get anywhere, but my advice is to keep trying, because it's worth the effort.

MARK … 85%

THE ESSENTIALS
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Graphics: to a very high standard in all three parts. The main character is large and well animated, as he fights some really weird-looking aliens
Sound: noisy, but welcome tunes throughout the game
Options: definable keys

CRITICISM

'At first glance The Vindicator seems like a game so easy it's not worth playing. But how wrong you can be! The simple looking maze is extremely deceptive. Its difficulty hits you when you discover that you can't move back into an area once you have left it - but it makes the first level frustrating. Level 2's yellow monochrome causes the usual problems of enemies being hard to see. But each level has a high standard of graphics, and there are tunes playing in most of them. The Vindicator is an excellent game, if only you can get past that first, frustrating level.' NICK ... 83%

'What a strange mixture The Vindicator is - a maze game, shoot-'em-up and platform game all in one! The first part gets more than a touch irritating as you trundle round the maze for hours, seemingly not getting anywhere. However, the large main character is well animated as he runs about, blasting weird-looking aliens which emerge from the many doors. And on the third phase, he can also jump and crouch realistically. I suppose the oddest feature is the inclusion of the vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-up which comprises the second stage. This is reminiscent of 1943 (reviewed this issue) but more playable! The extremely varied gameplay is complemented by a very noisy 128K tune on the front end (and also one during the first stage) - it doesn't sound like a Spectrum at all! Although none of the three game parts in The Vindicator are outstanding in their own right, they make up an interesting package, but still nothing spectacular.' PHIL ... 74%

General Rating: An intriguing mixture of game sections makes The Vindicator good value for money.

86%
84%
75%
74%
80%

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FIGHTING FOR VENGEANCE

Try and map all the levels. This could prove very useful if you lose your way (like me).

If you run past the doors on Level 1 before the alien gets out, you won't have to fight him.

Only pick up oxy-gum if you need it - wasting gum could be fatal.

Bombing the enemy bunkers should take priority, because these are the most lethal.

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Ground floor, please.

Down in the sewers; and I was worried about the rats!