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US Gold Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

BLUE MAX, another dubious import from the United States, bears little resemblance to the real dogfights and bi-plane bombing missions of the First World War. You take your light aircraft up from a base which looks as if it is situated within enemy territory. The landing strips must have force fields around them as enemy attacks are sporadic and have little or no effect.

Most of the destruction wreaked upon your aircraft will occur because of your clumsiness in taking-off, landing or keeping altitude.

Rising on the airwaves is only one of your problems. You can release bombs on enemy outposts, tanks and rivercraft by pulling the joystick back and pressing the fire key, or button. If the bombs fail to drop at the correct time you will miss a scant opportunity to gain points.

One touch of realism is the refueling exercise which you should perform every time you sight a landing strip once every four or five minutes.

The bi-plane can perform 3D movements, such as wiggling its wings and casts a shadow on the landscape, but that shows buildings, tanks and shops to be flat as pancakes. Compared to TLL, for instance, Blue Max is clearly second rate.

The Commodore 64 version is impressive but the Spectrum version, although closer to the original, lacks some of its lustre.

John Gilbert

Memory: 48K
Price: £7.95
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, AGF, Protek