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Martech Games Ltd
1986
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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28
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

"Being a hero is easy. Staying alive is more difficult."

Skimming low across the mechanical landscape, I threw the joystick left, then right, right again, lurching out of the way of an oncoming assailant. As he sped away, I matched his horizontal position and blasted him with a rear laser. The tiny silver ship expelled a ploom of white smoke, and fragmented, sending shattered metal in all directions.

This is W A R., from Martech. And it's very good.

The whole game plays on a small window, surrounded by a picture which attempts to be extra ordinarily atmospheric but manages instead to look confusing, owing to the jumble of colours. It's a scrolling zap like a cross between Lightforce and Uridium. The actual gameplay is two-colour, although brief excursions into colour are taken every so often, allowing you to improve your armaments.

After a short time dodging and zooming, it's apparent that in the early stages it's a straightforward shoot-em-up.

Waves of differing aliens scream down the screen with various degrees of psychosis. The backgrounds will alter to bring variety, but when you take a long, hard look, it's a game we've all played before.

Yet there are two things that save W.A.R. from being classified a run-of-the-mill arcade game. One is the second-game feature, the other is the rather innovative way in which you can improve firepower.

The former is a quite simple idea. On the second side of the tape, you will find another copy of the game, - more of the same except much, much harder. You'll find yourself flying over a Spectrum circuit board. Aliens swoop around in a most impressive fashion, and finish you off in a second.

The other idea is rather clever. You can opt to sacrifice some of your score in order to obtain superior weaponry. Each weapon retails for a different number of points. If you can hold out long enough, it is possible to amass a great enough score for you to purchase a large piece of artillery. It may be worthwhile, however, to get some superior, though small-scale guns to help in the short-term. It's up to you.

Scrolling bashes are suddenly in vogue again and W.A.R. is a tricky one.

Label: Martech
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 1
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

****

A big surprise. It's been converted from the Commodore game, and improved no end. Scroll- ing blasts are fashionable.

4/5

Screenshot Text

A small playing window. Amazingly fast action though. Dodge the three aliens on the left. Don't worry, they're easier to make out on the moving screen.