Ventamatic
1983
Arcade: Maze
£5.99
Multiple languages (see individual downloads)
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

111
Chris Bourne

This new game from Unique is from a Spanish software house called Ventamatic, whose games Unique are marketing in Britain.

Vertigo is a large maze complex shoot em up in the manner of Doomsday Castle, Pyramid etc. There is a visual resemblance to Jetpac and Jetman in as much as 'you' are a space suited character with a jetpack on your back, equipped with a laser in hand and ready to deal death to the numerous Martians.

The object of the game is to get through the labyrinth of Martian Tunnels by locating the seven keys which open the treasure chest at the end. Each tunnel, or room, is guarded by Martians that fly about trying to kill you off (by contact as usual). To get out of each section of the tunnels you must destroy all the guards first. Doing this opens up the doors, either horizontally or vertically. The room may have some standing platforms and one or more trenches in the floor. These are often useful to duck into when threatened by a low flying alien.

Having finished a screen, it clears and returns alienless and with all doors open for you to move into the next. Before this, the map appears which shows the location of all the rooms. There are 256 of them. There are also several different types of alien with varied characteristics, and your man is one of the largest graphics of its type in any shoot em up game.

CRITICISM

'This is the best of the Ventamatic games I have seen, even though it doesn't have a loading screen. Vertigo is fun to play and the graphics are really nice, especially your man who looks like Jetman's elder brother (he's so huge)! The sound isn't too bad and it contains little tunes here and there, like the now immortalised theme tune from Star Wars when you ask for instructions. It's inevitable that this will be compared with Pyramid and rightly so as it bears a strong resemblance. The controls are responsive and well laid out, though when you are changing rooms they become over-responsive. All in all, a good challenging game, not exactly up to Pyramid's high standard, but certainly worth considering. '

'What first struck me about this game is the size of 'you' - you're enormous! But well detailed and you move exceptionally fast. Aliens are varied, colourful and come in hordes. You don 't stand a chance with that many because for a start off you are an easy target being so big, and secondly you move so quickly, it's difficult to line up a shot. It's unusual to have a map which shows you where the keys are and where you can gain extra lives. An L in a room indicates an extra life if you can reach it in time. On screen these appear as hearts. The map also adds a maze game element because you have to find the best route to get the keys and then reach the treasure at the end. I think the man moves about much too quickly and totally spoils the playability of the game, and zapping aliens tends to get a bit boring.'

'Vertigo has very fine graphics which are well coloured and move very smoothly, as do 'you'. But your man is difficult to control as the responsiveness to keyboard or joystick is fast and over violent. Added to this is your size which makes it hard to avoid aliens. Otherwise the game provides a lot of scope for wholesale destruction with some strategy element thrown in with the massive maze of locations.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: alternate keys bottom row left /right. 2nd row thrust, 3rd row to fire
Joystick: Kempston, AGF, Protek
Keyboard play: very responsive, at times over-responsive
Use of colour: good
Graphics: smooth, fast and detailed
Sound: good tunes, not continuous sound but well used
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 3
Screens: plenty of precedents, but generally well implemented
Originality: well worth considering, generally above average

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