Sinclair User

Captain Fizz Meets The Blastertrons
By Psyclapse
Spectrum 128K

Published in Sinclair User #89

Captain Fizz Meets The Blaster Trons

It doesn't inspire you with hope when you realise that the zappy artwork on the cover of a new game appeared on a paperback several years ago - no expense spared, eh chaps? It wouldn't be so bad if the screenshots of the game looked marvellous, but they don't; tiny little sprites placed in a two-dimensional maze, surrounded by meters and readouts which conspire to make the playing area relatively small. "No", I thought, "That must be some sort of introductory screen - that can't be the real game. I expect the real game is some sort of three-dimensional vectorgraphic artificial intelligence space strategy shoot-'em-up with go-faster stripes." It isn't.

Captain Fizz Meets the Blaster-Trons certainly boasts the worst title of all time (OK OK, I know it's meant to be a jolly laughey satirical version of titles from the dawn of software history, but you can only get away with playing for laughs if the game's any good). What the title doesn't give away is the fact that what we have here is basically an inferior Gauntlet clone, notably only because it has a simultaneous two-player mode which probably demanded some nifty programming. But it's not the sort of graphically sophisticated arcade-adventure we've come to expect from Psyclapse/Psygnosis.

There are twenty levels of so-called "action", involving guiding your tiny blob around flip-scrolling mazes representing alien complexes. The aim is to destroy the aliens' master computer; to do this you have to wipe out the alien generators, collect keys and passes to other levels, and work your way through the system of one-way doors.

Captain Fizz Meets The Blaster Trons

Each player has a control key for a "blitter-bomb" in addition to their standard joystick/key controls for movement and laser fire. It's easier to work together to solve certain problems; bear that in mind if you don't always have a partner to play with. It can get pretty frustrating trying to handle two joysticks yourself.

The usual Gauntlet-style features are there; energy, armour and credit cards to pick up, fast-moving weeblies to avoid or blast, sliding doors to negotiate, destructive barriers to cross, moveable objects to shove around and transporters to enter. So, if you enjoy the sheer challenge of Gauntlet-type games and don't mind the lack of graphical sophistication, you might find CFMTBT reasonably engaging.

Sound is pretty good too; a muteable game tune with all the funk you might require, and a range of zaps and bleeps which inform you when you've achieved some worthwhile objective.

Not a complete write-off, then, but a pretty unambitious game to stick in such a flashy box and sell at full price.

Overall Summary

A disappointing Gauntlet-type maze number.

Chris Jenkins

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