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Michael Fox
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Express Software is a new company who, in common with some other software houses, have chosen to create a hero around which to set games, in this case Brad. The scenario is set in the year 2025 and Earth is the HQ for the Intergalactic Security Network (ISN). The inhabitants of planet Delta 10 have become increasingly warlike and the ISN have been informed that the Galactic Barbarians who inhabit Delta 10 have developed a super power serum. Brad Stevens has been ordered to destroy the serum. Brad Blasts the Galactic Barbarians is a game played in five stages. Stage 1 (flight through space) has Brad fighting his way to reach a space station while under attack from enemy fighters, comets and asteroids. Stage 2 (docking) sees Brad trying to get into the space station, which has been surrounded by enemy fighters.

Stage 3 (flight to Delta 10) has Brad, now in a new fighter craft, battling through hordes of enemy craft. In Stage 3 (walk to the laboratory) Brad has to defend himself against a scouting party who are all equipped with jet packs. The final stage (inside the laboratory) is a large maze filled with cyborgs, and the walls of the passages are electrified. The producers are running a competition, details on the inlay card. If you score over 10,000 points and complete the game you will receive a code. You also have to guess the year Brad arrives (he goes back in time) and fill in one of those lines which asks why you picked this year, to qualify. A portable TV is offered.

In addition to the five sheets of the game, there is a very attractive sequence in which Brad's ship takes off from Earth to do battle on the first main screen. Between each stage a transmission at the base of the playing area informs you of what's about to come.


'Brad offers a very lively compendium of games without the usual drawbacks associated with having several different game types on one tape. After a mission control run-down on what you are supposed to attempt, and helpfully telling you it is a million to one you will succeed, your ship takes off. The first screen in this shoot 'em up game is a galaxian-style one with enemy ships diving down, firing, asteroid fragments falling and larger - blue ones - that tempt you to shoot - a mistake, as they shatter into more asteroid fragments. In addition, there are flaming comets streaking in from the left at a diagonal. If you clear it, you move on to a screen, where your ship automatically moves slowly up the screen towards the space station 's open doors at the top. The Barbarian ships dodge all over the place trying to get you. The third is a fast galaxian-style again, but your new ship moves and fires much faster at the green hordes above. Once landed on Delta 10, Brad is seen on the ground firing up at what looks like Jetpac men, who are dropping bombs on him. This screen leads to a complicated but simply drawn maze with electrified walls and cyborgs. There are three parts to the maze and different cyborgs in each. The games are all very jolly and well worth playing if you like shoot 'em ups.'

'Many different games requiring different skills have been combined into one, making a very playable package. Graphics are smooth, but not terribly fast, and your craft seems to be a little unresponsive. This does add to the difficulty of the game. The graphics have good detail and are colourful. The sound is quite good although basic in the sense that it only signals explosions and so on. I liked the third screen, especially the way your fighter fires its twin photon beams. After a few plays, the introductory message screens become irritating, and it might have been a good idea to have a skip facility. In general, an original plot.'

'This is definitely a game that needs a joystick, as the control keys are the cursors, which are rather awkward to use, especially in tight corners. On the other hand, the keys work better in the maze sections than the joystick, since fine tuning is needed to guide Brad through the narrow corridors. Good value with every screen being a playable game.'

Control keys: cursors, 0 to fire
Joystick: Kempston, ZX 2, Protek, AGF
Keyboard play: a little unresponsive in ship movement
Use of colour: good
Graphics: generally good
Sound: above average
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5
General Rating: Good, playable, its addictive qualities may wear after a bit.