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Reaktor
1987
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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63
Jim Douglas
Chris Bourne

Well I don't know about you but I haven't got a clue as to what all these Gobot things are about.

After spending ages and ages ploughing through the apparently endless 'book' (you load it into the Spectrum and flip from page to page - more economical than a novella) and considerably more time than was comfortable listening to the audio tape Theme to the Challenge. I was none the wiser.

Apparently some of your mates have been captured by an evil fiend by the name of Gog. To rescue them you must destroy everything on the surface of the planet, or something.

No matter, the game itself is rather good. It's all horizontally-scrolly with er, 'bold' graphics (ie blocky), a fair bit of colour and a lot of killing.

It's been written by Tony Crowther and Ross Goodley who've obviously been heavily influenced by Jeff Minter.

The screen is a bit difficult to explain movement-wise. As you can see, there's a ceiling and a floor, with a mountain range or something in between. Well, the mountains jiggle up and down a bit and it's possible to fly in either direction or - and this is where the Gobottian element comes to the fore - land on either the ceiling or the floor and trundle along.

While you are in the air you look like a sort of dart, and when you land, you mutate into a standing-up robot - standing the right way up on the floor or upside down on the ceiling.

Flying around is decidedly hairy at first, and you go very fast indeed. As you fly gravity pulls you to the top or bottom, toward whichever surface you are nearer at the time. As a result, most of your time will be spent waiting for a new man to appear after smashing headlong into something dangerous. Either that or one of the many enemy robots will knock you out.

Good news then that an editing section has been added enabling you to tailor certain aspects of the game (speed, gravity, etc) in order to make things a bit easier.

After I'd tweaked down the gravity a bit I started to do a little better. Along both surfaces are large white egg-like things which are apparently bases. Providing you have picked up a couple of the little robots which can be seen scurrying along the surface - Scooters - you can press the bomb button and drop one of the little suckers on top of the installation, blowing it to bits in a most gratifying manner.

Destroy the correct number of bases, you'll move on to the next level.

Yes I know it's pretty disappointing the next level is almost invariably virtually identical to the previous one save the fact that there are a few more varieties of aliens. But it's still great fun.

Gobots is actually a very playable arcade game that is anything but run-of-the-mill.

Label: Ariolasoft
Author: Tony Crowther and Ross Goodley
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Worthwhile licence that stands up on its own. High-energy blast meets quirky oddity and they both come out of it well.

7/10

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PROGRAMMERS

TONY CROWTHER: responsible for the game design. Well known as a C64 programmer of scrolling big-sprite titles like Loco.

SOFTOGRAPHY: Loco (Alligata, 1985). Potty Pigeons (Gremlin, 1985) Monty Mole (Gremlin, 1985), Killer Watt (Alligata, 1986), Killer Ring (Reaktor, 198̃7)

ROSS GOODLEY: responsible for game design.

TONY COOPER: responsible for the coding.

SOFTOGRAPHY: SUPERBOWL (Imagine, 1986) ARKANOID (Imagine, 1987)