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Jeffery Bond
1986
Arcade: Action
£1.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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24
Chris Bourne

On the planet Neptune, many years into the future, a fierce battle of wits is being fought. Neptune has now been colonised and a rather largish space station built to house its immigrants.

However, nasty aliens are determined to put a spanner in the works. For some reason best known to themselves they have planted a huge bomb somewhere on the station as an act of gratuitous interstellar terrorism. This bomb is so massively big that if it explodes it will not only destroy the space station but will also turn the planet Neptune into mere wisps of hydrogen and ozone as its particles are spread across the cosmos.

This is all a bit worrying. The inhabitants of the space station have been evacuated to a nearby asteroid arid now it's just a waiting game. Gone are the days when highly skilled human bomb disposal experts were sent to risk their lives. Nowadays everything's automated. Arnold (which is a very nice name for a robot) is a mechanical disposal droid which is specially programmed to disassemble dangerous bombs. This droid has been sent into the space station on Neptune to locate and defuse the bomb before it's too late. However, it's still up to you to control Arnold and guide him through the corridors and rooms of the station in the quest for the bomb.

Those interfering aliens have set a timer on the bomb. You have around 999 seconds in which to locate the bomb and render it harmless. Not content with just sitting back and waiting for the big bang, the aliens have also sent in their own saboteurs who will do their utmost to get in the way of your efforts. These irritating creatures will sap your droid's energy if they get too close. They can be destroyed by Arnold but will re-materialise after a short time to renew their attacks.

Arnold has been equipped with a nifty laser which makes short work of any marauding nasty. However, the droid has only a limited amount of power so indiscriminate blasting will wear the laser out quite quickly. The droid also has a certain amount of energy which it uses to move around the space station. Each time one the of the nasties gets too close to Arnold, some of this energy is lost. This is represented by a blue wavy line at the edge of the screen. Once all four lives have gone the game is over and you can enjoy the planet's destruction from the safety of the control room.

CRITICISM

'FIREBIRD has started to produce some very good budget software lately, some of which would probably sell very well with an £8.00 price tag. Bombscare is one of these. Graphically this doesn't offer anything new or particularly stunning - Filmation is getting a little overused and worn around the edges now - but there is a lot of nice detail and your character moves around the various screens smoothly. Sound is disappointing as there are few effects and no tunes. The game plays quickly but controlling your 'dustbin' is a little tricky so you use up a lot of energy crashing into nasties that you can't avoid. Not a bad game, but it lacks a little in playability and addictiveness.'

'Will software houses never tire of making Filmation-style 3D games? I can tire of reviewing them, that's for sure. Bombscare isn't particularly bad, but the game just has that ' seen it all before' feel to it. The graphics, yes, are very pretty, it's very similar to all its predecessors. Playability-wise, Bombscare is just about up to standard, and it's fairly addictive, too, with some very nice effects, like the planet explosions. Good value for money, but l didn't go ape over it, and I don't think most other people will either.'

'Surprise, surprise! Another budget, monochrome, arcade adventure. I found Bombscare very easy to get into and good fun to play for the first few goes, but it doesn't contain anything that will make you play it again. The graphics are, as all monochrome games should be, very pretty and detailed, but, alas, there is no sound worth mentioning. There are a couple of nice touches at the end of the game: when you die a little broom comes on the screen and sweeps your remains up (a la Marble Madness) and the planet blows up into little bits (a la Dan Dare). The rotational movement of Arnold is extremely well done and easy to use, and helps speed up the game. Most people should be satisfied with Bombscare for a mere £1.99, but I've seen it all before.'

COMMENTS
Control keys: Q forwards, O turn anti-clockwise, turn clockwise, A fire, Z pick-up, X select object, C activate object
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor
Keyboard play: quite responsive and easier than joystick
Use of colour: monochrome
Graphics: familiar 3D
Sound: spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: Around 128 (according to FIREBIRD!)
General Rating: Well implemented, but run of the mill.

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