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Ocean Software Ltd
Arcade: Adventure
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Ben Stone, Paul Sumner, Richard Eddy
Chris Bourne

Our hero, Number Five is no ordinary robot - well, not any more anyway. All was fine, until the unfortunate android was struck by a freak bolt of lightning which raised his logical circuitry towards the level of human consciousness. Now, to all intents and purposes he is' alive ' - and he prefers it that way.

Number Five's creators, the scientists from the Nova Corporation, want to pull him apart diode by diode, in order to find out how his circuits have been able to assume human qualities. This doesn't make the nouveau human particularly happy, and he begins to plot his escape.

The game takes up the story in the Nova Robotics building, with The factory complex displayed in isometric perspective - that is, three of the current room's four walls in view. Number Five is not yet fully equipped to escape, and begins by collecting a few items to expand his powers. These add the capacity to jump and fire a laser to his basic capability of simply trundling around. A computer printer in the status area monitors Five's activities, and two bar meters reveal the status of his laser and mechanical frame.

To escape, Five has to log-on to the Nova computer. This gives the robo-hero access to three program routines: Search, Read and Use. Search is the most vital, enabling Five to examine desks, cupboards, coat racks - in fact, anything in the factory where something useful might be hidden.

Linking doors between the rooms are occasionally locked, while others require a security pass. Therefore, finding keys and passes is high on Five's agenda.

Before Number five can attempt to leave he needs to have in his possession all the correct objects and components. If anything has been left uncollected, he's immediately captured. A successful escape allows the player to load up the second half of the game -a frantic chase.

The chase sequence sees Five dashing over a horizontally scrolling rural landscape. Number five is so sensitive that if he injures a creature, grief overloads his emotion circuits. immobilising him for a while and leaving him prey to the Guards who follow his tracks. Five can jump and fire, but his shots aren't deadly -the guards are simply stunned. Other Nova Robots also pursue Five, and like the Guards, they can be temporarily disabled by laser fire. While the fugitive is busy dealing with his pursuers he must also avoid hazards such as rocks, logs, puddles and the occasional lake - falling into the lake is fatal, as it shorts out the robot's circuitry.

A van awaits at the end of the chase, and, providing Five arrives there without being detected by the Nova Helicopter, he can make his escape to freedom. What he gets up to then is another story altogether...


'I don't know what to make of Short Circuit. The first part lacks depth, but is somehow still compelling - and the second is merely an arcade-pattern game (which also appeals for some obscure reason). The graphics are very good, with the main character well drawn and animated - the rooms and backgrounds are also pretty (if a little sparse). The sound is up to OCEAN's usual high standards; there's a great tune on the title screen and some useful effects during play. Short Circuit works well, but I'd recommend a couple of trial plays before buying.' BEN

'Okay, so the film was quite good for the most part, but this tie-in has captured none of its excitement or cuteness. Number Five moves much too slowly for my liking, and takes far too long to react to joystick movements. The first stage contains some nice scenery, but the general presentation is very hard on the eyes. The second stage is very repetitive, and is no fun at all. Short Circuit is very boring, and hasn't used the good points to bring it to life.' PAUL

'Short Circuit is one of the best film licences for ages and represents value with the inclusion of a second, and very different, game. The first part, the 3D arcade adventure, is constructed well with just its right amounts of exploration, puzzles and thought involved. The 'Scrolling printer on the status panel works to good effect giving what could have been a rather dull information screen a bit of life. The Second part may prove frustrating as Five has only one life and it's really a matter of gradually learning what happens when - and making sure that you're positioned in the right place. Well, worth checking out.' RICKY

Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: monochromatic on first game, and reasonably colourful on the second
Graphics: good use of perspective, and lively
Sound: funky tune and spot FX, with more tunes on the 128 version
Skill levels: one
Screens: 64
General Rating: Takes two popular aspects of Spectrum gaming and presents them both fairly well. Worth a look.


Screenshot Text

Doing a spot of desk work - Number Five attempts logging onto the Nova Robotics central computer in search of his destiny.