Zircon Software
Not Known
1985
Strategy: War
£5.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

140,141
Angus Ryall
Chris Bourne

Well, let's kick off with a really snappy little title here. I suppose this had to come sooner or later, but wouldn't something a bit less staid have been in order? Like Manic Minuteman, or…, er... Raid Over Moscow? (Originality knocks).

Sadly, or maybe fortunately, this pathetic little program doesn't even live up to its brazenly forthright name, and certainly doesn't compare with the aforementioned Raid in terms of playability. It's very unlikely that you'll come across any copies of this, so I shouldn't really be too worried about you buying it, but for what it's worth, don't.

What happens in the game is that you are a hacker who has broken into the NATO Strategic Air Command computer, and you have to defend NATO from a nuclear attack. Whether this attack is genuinely Russian, or computer induced a la War Games is not made clear.

Russian missiles of varying types attack your six bases at Greenham, Essex, White Rock etc, and you have to: 1) shoot them down with your defensive missiles; and 2) fire your offensive missiles at the Russian bases.

Despite the fact that this scenario raises a number of immediate questions, such as whatever happened to the ABM Treaty? Did Nixon lie to us about that as well? Where are the killer satellites? What is the point of the Russians attacking Greenham when the Cruise Missiles are all being launched from trailers in the car park of Watford's new Sainsbury's? (well, it's not designed for cars, is it?) Why are the Russkies being such gentlemen and not attacking our cities? And of course, why are we being so nice and not going for Moscow, Novosibirsk, etc?

Leaving aside all these questions of life and death (ha ha), the question uppermost in my mind is WHAT IS THE POINT IN A 6v6 MISSILE GAME WITH NO GRAPHICS? This is a bit like a very simple version of 'Missile Command', without any pictures. Certainly no War Games stuff here.

And another thing Sinclair are currently on the verge of tying up a mega-deal with the Eastern Bloc to supply thousands of ZX81's and Spectrums probably to put in the cockpits of their MIG25s (well, they've got to be better than the pilots) and generally beef up their military capabilities. Now, I know that it takes the entire acumen of York University's DEC10 mainframe simply to determine the best route from Greenham Cornmon to Watford Sainsbury's, and that the Russkies are going to be in for a shock when they try to run their anti-killer-satellite-missiles off the old dead flesh keyboard; but the thing is, one glimpse of Thermonuclear War and the whole deal is going to be off. And then what chance to we have of persuading them to trade in their 17 ageing tank divisions in East Germany for a fleet of C5s? No! This game must be stopped it could destroy western civilisation.

More facts about the game: it is entirely in BASIC and has two spelling mistakes on the loading screen. One of the messages in the game says LEAVE PLAY DEPRESSED. Too right Mikhail!

CRITICISM

Overall Rating: Even if nuclear war is your scene, this won't be.

Not Rated