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Z

Rino Software
Steve Evans
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Undetermined

Other Links


41
Tony Lee
Chris Bourne

From what I can gather, this is a conversion of a well known and loved game for the Commodore 64. It's been programmed by Rino, Alligata's cheapie arm (geddit?), and it's basically a shoot-anything-that-moves game, though without the eight-volume novel that usually accompanies this sort of product, explaining in great and unnecessary detail why.

Z is set in a mysterious world where death is round every corner (Hounslow?). Actually it reminds me of an arcade from a while back called Time Pilot, though that was better. Your aim is to destroy ten standard aliens (what's substandard?), and when that's done, an energy unit appears. Blow this away and it turns into a bomb. When you've done this several times, you can mount an attack against the transporter. You'll know what this looks like as during the game there's no way you can avoid bumping into it! (Everything else you glide effortlessly over.) With a few bombs, though, you can gain revenge for all those dents in your front fender and blow it to smithereens. When there's a suitable gap you can fly through to the next level, which is set over a lovely country landscape (dum de dum de dum de dum...). It's basically the same as level one, though this time you have pesky flying saucers firing missiles at you. Once you get through ̶ okay, if you get through to the next level ̶ you'll find yourself on a lunar screen, and yet again the gameplay's the same... except that this time there are mother ships around zapping out homing missiles! Aaargh!

The fourth and last level is different, though. Called Nightflight (for reasons that become obvious when you try it), it has no transporter, but go about your business as usual and when you've picked up five bombs, the alien control ship appears. It takes five direct hits to dispose of this little lovely, and if you fail, well, prepare to be canned and fed to Fido.

The monochromatic graphics aren't bad, although sometimes it can be hard to make anything much out (like baddies, missiles, walls...). But the scrolling, speed and control are worthy of any game twice the price, or more. I especially like the way the ship explodes whenever you make a dramatic cock-up (like hitting a baddie, missile, wall...).

So, all in all, a cracking little shooter at a fair price. I'd've liked a faster stream of bullets, and I was a bit miffed by the way the craft flew diagonally up to the left but not to the right. Still, Z scores mainly on the price. It's one cheapie game that certainly won't put you to sleep!

A great little budget shoot 'em up. Check it, buy it, play it, love it!

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