Bedlam (Go) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

Your Sinclair

By Go!
Spectrum 128K

Published in Your Sinclair #27

"'Snot fair! Dub gorbless tottie always geds to trash de ubiverse!" We let Gwyn Hughes, the man with the inflamed mucus membrane, come in from the cold to blast away at Bedlam!


Bedlam - wasn't that the infamous eighteenth century lunatic asylum whose last remaining inmates now rattle their chains around Castle Rathbone?

Fitting title then, because this is enough to drive anyone dotty - particularly all you prannies who tried to load it into your 48K machines. 'Cos this is one mega-sized mega-game which requires the whole 128 kilobytes.

One for the big boys, what? Just the thing I need to clear my catarrh. I've always said that a good shoot 'em up was the software equivalent of Sinex. [Course you have, Malcolm! - Ed] Now if I can only get strapped into the cockpit of this Spectrum before Rachael gets back...

The instructions waffle on about this being the ultimate test for cadets at the Stellar Imperium's Pilots Academy. We'll see about that. Remember, I was massacring Space Invaders before most of you were born.

Kappow! Peeow! Zing! Whoops... Oh well, must have been the cold. Let's have another go. (More zippy sound FX!) Okay, so this really is hot stuff, but I'll soon have it puzzled. Or maybe not, because there are 15 space stations plus ten moonscapes and four special sections before you can take your 125cc spaceship out on the road. Now I see why they needed all those K.

In the style of Uridium, this is the classic scrolling formula with enough nice touches and oh-so-much speed to keep you going back for hours. The vertical landscape rolls away under you while waves of aliens swoop in.

There are deck fixtures to dodge on the stations, because at best you'll bounce all over the screen when you collide, and at worst you'll lose your life. And there are special bonus features to collect too. There's enough here to blow your mind - or blow your nose if you're like me. PARRRRP! That's wetter!

As I was saying before I creamed that Kleenex, there are four teleports which shoot you to the next level. But better than that, they also give you time off on the space station for a quick game of pinball. Keep your fingers on the flippers, because it's a handy way of boosting your score.

The aliens all use different attack patterns, and a lot of the fun is learning the best position to be in when they arrive. Get it right and you can sit there and shoot them like black-puddings in a bath. Wipe out a whole wave and you get a brief spell of invulnerability.

Use this wisely to wipe out the next invasion, and you top up your shields, so that there are stages when you should never need to dodge the nasties. There are also mega-sprites at the end of each level - talking of which, I hear Rachael returning. Cripes!

Never mind - in keeping with current trends, as well as the two players against each other option, there's an opportunity for friends to tackle the game together. But though you can't shoot your pals, you can bounce each other into danger. Which is just what I intend to do if that gormless tottie has forgotten my Lemsip. AH-CHOO!

Gwyn Hughes