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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Alien faces are seeking to take control of Earth and have invaded in great numbers. It's one fighter plane against a myriad of alien craft... a pilot's lot is not a happy one. Wave after wave of nestles come towards the lone plane, determined to zap you out of the sky. Survival depends on swift reactions and deadly aim.

The screen scrolls from right to left, your fighter plane staying near the left hand edge of the screen so that there's a clear view of the alien forces and time to try and dodge their lethal missiles. The action takes place over a broad blue river on the far bank the scenery changes from mountains to cities to forests and back to mountains again.

The nasties come in a variety of forms and colours and dance about as they approach. Not only must their missiles be avoided but a collision can also cause your plane to explode. Fortunately, you are equipped with limitless missiles and powerful shields which together provide formidable protection. Your fuel supply, however, is not limitless the amount left is shown in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.

Once all the aliens in a wave have been killed, the game proceeds to the next level. Sometimes, no missiles are involved at all and it's a matter of weaving and dodging your way through a barrage of rota-droids and meteors. Most lethal of all, however, are the heat-seeking Mutile missiles which are very accurate.

Periodically, a mother ship appears and a successful docking restores fuel and shield power. This makes it possible to proceed to even higher levels and pit wits with even swifter and more deadly alien swarms. Should the docking fail, then you are forced to move on to the next level with less protection and less energy, making your chances of survival slender. The docking procedure must be very accurate if you're slightly out and miss the jaws of the mothership, then the plane explodes.

Eight points are awarded for shooting an enemy craft: twenty five, fifty, or seventy for a Mutile and more for successful docking. Bonus points are awarded for docking and completing waves. The score, lives remaining and shield power are all Indicated in the status area at the base of the screen.

A high score guarantees you a place in the Buccaneer Hall Of Fame so it's possible to see how you fare against the best. Time to save the world from alien invasion again, pilot!


'At base level, this is Just a polished Scramble without the hills. The graphics, with the exception of the fantastic parallax scrolling, are flickery and rather unattractive, and the game, although playable, gets pretty boring after a while. The docking section is too easy, and the missile attacks frustrating, as they materialise when you're halfway through a screen. INSIGHT did better with Vectron, and I would recommend that they stick with products of that quality, 'cos I don't like Buccaneer much.'

'When I heard that this was from the people behind Vectron, I ready flipped. How can a company release a brilliant game like that and then produce something as sloppy and unplayable as this? As a rule, I'm very partial to good blasting nestles games as I'm sure many other people are, but I'm afraid that this one really isn't good enough to be compelling or playable. The graphics are fairly large and the screen scrolls from right to left nicely but there are plenty of attribute problems. The sound is about average for cheapo FIREBIRD games. Overall, it's not too bad for its price tag of two quid, but I started to get bored after a couple of goes.'

'Ho hum! Another budget game pretending to be a slick fast action shoot 'em up. Well you're not going to fool me mateys! The graphics are extremely flickery and move about in a very jerky manner. The sound is very basic and the colour is used much too lavishly - resulting in loads of attribute problems. I didn't find the game at all enthralling, mainly due to the fact that every screen has Its own little flight pattern and it ' s easy to judge where the baddies are going to end up next. Then it's just a case of how fast you can press the lire button - which isn't very responsive. I found Buccaneer very boring to play and nothing like what I've come to expect from the top budget houses. Buccaneer is definitely a 'no no.'

Control keys
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: reasonable
Use of colour: quite good, but clashes occur often
Graphics: flickery sprites, but nice parallax scrolling
Sound: limited to spot effects
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling levels
General Rating: There are plenty of shoot 'em ups on the Spectrum that are much better.


Screenshot Text

Blam, zoom. The spaceship approaches a hoard of angry aliens. Survival is the name of this pilot's game...