Calisto
S. Allaway
1984
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

37
Chris Bourne

Your miniaturised laser tank is under attack from marauding ants which have mutated into a super-species.. Your mission is to destroy them, wave after wave as they relentlessly march towards you bent on your total destruction. So says the inlay. It's a little misleading as it conjures up the idea of animated ants homing in on your tank, which isn't quite what happens.

Mutant Ant Attack is actually a grid game played out on a screen which wraps around both vertically and horizontally. Your tank and the mutant ants all move along the green lines of the grid. Should you fire, the missile travels off the screen and re-enters on the same line from behind. It's therefore essential to get off that line as fast as possible after firing if you don't want to blow yourself up.

The ants are character blocks with detail in them. They form up in lines and march about, the line gradually breaking up into clumps of individuals. The ants don't actually make a beeline (sorry) for you and content themselves with marching around, performing neat military manoeuvres along the grids.

CRITICISM

'Ant Attack looks very simple at first glance, and indeed the graphics are nothing very special, being small one character sized blocks. But the beauty of the game lies in its simplicity as a grid game. You can fire continuously in any of the four directions, and your worst enemy is usually yourself! Dodging your own missiles as well as the ants becomes very exciting. That's just about all there is to the game, but I thought it was enough, and made for a highly addictive game. A (good) frustrating point is that a line of ants changes direction if one gets hit, which means your strategies, carefully planned, can all go awry. I liked it a lot.'

'This game bears no resemblance to the Ant Attack of Quicksilva! This grid game would be a good one indeed if it weren't for the fact that the game control is terrible - spoils it, but it is still rather addictive.'

'Mutant Ant Attack is incredibly simple. It's also mindblowing, headaching, maddening, addictive and wonderful! It's certainly the first game to get my brain in a mental twist. Co-ordination and lightning thinking will enable you to play this game, and in this connection a better keyboard layout would have made the game better. Best used with a joystick. You can have 10 shots on the screen at any one time and going in any of the four directions. The eleventh clears the first. The shots will also destroy each other, but it doesn't get you out of trouble because everything moves too fast! The graphics are not big or very detailed, but good enough to make for an enjoyable game. Mind-boggling.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: cursors and 0 to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: very responsive, the cursors make life hard though
Use of colour: adequate, and bright
Graphics: small, simple but fine in context
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
General Rating: A good, original games and very addictive.

55%
55%
82%
76%
83%
74%
71%

Screenshot Text

Beware the mutant ants and flying missiles.