Pulsonic
1983
Arcade: Action
£2.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

82,83
Chris Bourne

This offering is a throwback to the 'Tron' style light cycle grid game where you must force your opponent's light trail off the screen. If either trail hits another, its own or the edge of the screen the other player wins. The game may be played against another human or against the spectrum itself.

There are 10 speeds and the computer may be made to be intelligent in a ratio of 0 to 9. One element which distinguishes this from other similar games is the hyperspace facility. When the key is pressed, play is frozen for a second and then your trail starts off somewhere else on the screen.

CRITICISM

'Pulsonic really seem to have got themselves in a tangle. With the few really playable games in this collection, there always seems to be something to ruin them. What programmer in their right mind would provide such a fistful of badly laid out keys as these to play such a fast game? Eight keys! Each 'go' auto-starts after a few seconds unless you kick it off yourself, and if you're playing the computer you are at a serious disadvantage with eight keys to use. Concentrating on only the four main directions is no good, since the computer uses all eight directions quite happily. It also keeps on hyperspacing. There are much better, more playable versions than this one around.'

'The graphics are very simple, as usual in this sort of game, but I thought that having a very thin red line and blue line on stark white was poor planning and hard on the eyes. There are also some colour problems even with this simple arrangement. Not only do the lines cloud the black edge, but they will also turn each other into blue or red depending on how you seem to hit. This becomes very confusing. When that's all said, the game is quite impossible to play with the key arrangement given and no joystick will cope.'

'I'm sometimes driven to wondering whether some games programmers ever play the things themselves, or just sit around having "good" ideas for games. If the programmers of this one had tried it out they might have concluded that it was a bit hard to play. It's a fairly typical version of the "Tron" style game. The addition of the hyperspace facility is useful for getting out of tight spots occasionally. But I didn't like the keys at all. The price of £2.99 is not really tempting at all - I would prefer to pay more and get a better program.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: E/X up/down, S/D left/right, W/R up-left/up-right, Z/C left-down, right-down, A= hyperspace (keys for left player only)
Joystick: you must be joking!
Keyboard play: responsive but almost impossible to use sensibly
Use of colour: extremely limited
Graphics: very simple
Sound: poor
Skill levels: 10 speeds, 10 levels of computer intelligence and five different mazes, some with extra hazards
Features: 1 or 2 player games or one v the computer
General Rating: A game which ought to be reasonable and has scope for addictivity, totally ruined by thoughtless key layout.

5%
30%
35%
48%
35%
35%
31%

Screenshot Text

A game for a persom with sixteen nimble fingers - Close-In.