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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Marcus Berkmann
Chris Bourne

Far away, on the planet ZUB 1 in the star system ZUB, a humble Private Third Class named Zub is summoned into the office of his commanding officer, Sergeant ZUB. There he receives his orders, direct from King ZUB, to venture across the ancient interplanetary teleport system to ZUB 10 and reclaim the priceless (and nicked) Golden Eyeball of ZUB. Sounds tricky.

And it is. Even the computer doesn't give him much of a chance. In fact it goes so far as to tell you that 'Probability of completing mission = 0.0%'. It's great to have that sort of moral support just as you're setting out to almost certain doom.

As the put-upon Private, it's your job to negotiate the distances between planets via a network of widely spaced platforms. These can be guided across several screens-worth of playing area as you try and find the next platform to jump on. Meanwhile a standard selection of nasties are after you, which calls for a lot of zapping and ducking about. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Sounds as though it could have been released in 1982, to be honest.

And I'll admit, ZUB's no megagame. The graphics don't exactly grab you by the handlebars. Sound is non-existent, the scrolling is smooth, but nothing special. And yes, I did mention platforms. But ZUB is not just another Jet Set Dynamite Dan On The Run rip-off. In fact, it's surprisingly addictive.

Unusually (for what's basically an arcade game, if not a very subtle one), it's played more easily on the keyboard. There are five skill levels, from ludicrously easy to viciously hard.

But what really sets this game apart is its humour. I mean, let's face it. How many games are there that try to be funny? How many actually raise a laff? But the ungainly Zub, lurching fearlessly across the and zubscape to his entirely pointless demise, is sure to bring a smile to even the most jaded of gamesters faces. The inlay notes are even wackier. And it's only two quid. ZUB is everything a budget game should be - unpretentious, great fun to play and worth the dosh!