By Thalamus
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #24

Delta | JR | SJ | GP | Verdict


Deep in an area of uncharted space lies a strange alien region known only as 'Delta'. Several ships belonging to the Terran Merchant Fleet have gone missing while flying through this mysterious area, and it has been rumoured that the Hsiffan Khanate, dreaded opponents of Terra, are operating from within its confines. The powers that be have decided to send a fighter pilot to investigate, and, bored with your current position, you decide to volunteer.

Dropped off within range of Delta, your objective is to progress as far as possible through the region and erradicate the Hsiffite menace.

Following an initial onslaught of alien ships, individually named sections of the region are encountered. These include particular hazards, which appear at the top and bottom of the screen and correspond to the area's name - for example, in the 'Rocks of Death' section, suitably desolate rock formations scroll past. In all cases, contact with the landscape destroys your ship.


Learning and memorising the alien formations is necessary to ensure progress, and complete destructions of attack waves earns credits. These are used to accumulate additional equipment, increasing the ship's firepower, speed and shields.

Seven icons periodically make their way across the screen, some grey, some blue - depending on how many credits you have amassed. Colliding with a blue icon adds the item in question to your ship and the icon reverts to a grey colour - hitting a grey icon results in the loss of a life. The added equipment has a limited useful life, so further additions are necessary as you progress.

Battle your way through thirty-two levels, and Delta is once more safe from the alien threat. But the Hsiffites don't give up that easy, and return a decade later. Once again it's up to you, now an older and more experienced pilot, to deal with the alien attack force. You're not the only one to have gained experience though - the enemy have also had time to improve their fighting skills and are now a more formidable opponent...



Delta is very impressive. The graphics are superlative, the effects are stunning and the music is nothing short of amazing. Delta's most impressive feature though, is the enormous amount of objects whizzing around the screen... bullets, rocks, enemy craft and swirling aliens - the action gets incredibly busy and you really need the extra weaponry to survive.

The thirty-two levels are varied, and there are some really neat ideas to surprise and thwart the player. If you're into shoot-'em-ups, take a look at this - you can't get much better within the horizontally scrolling format.


Delta is a very smart-looking game. The graphics are really neat, with a great parallax starfield and some lovely aliens. The music is superb, especially the main track that runs throughout the game.


The gameplay, however, is a little on the weak side - learning the attack formations is essential but more often than not monotonous. Delta offers sufficient blasting for your money, but may lose its appeal quite quickly due to the predictable gameplay.


I like to dictate the action - I don't like the computer doing it for me. Which is why I find Delta very frustrating and quite boring. There is a distinct pattern to follow throughout the levels, which soon proves tedious, and you have to collect certain weapons at the right time, otherwise progress is impossible - regardless of how skillful you are.

If bi-directional or multi-directional scrolling had been incorporated it might have been a different story, but simply flying in a straight line, encountering a set pattern of opposition is not very appealing.


Also - if the ship had a limited supply of ammunition, instead of the existing time limit, there would have been more skill involved as the player would have to be shot conscious.

Delta is highly polished and mildly playable, but on the whole I enjoyed the mini mixing-desk loader more than the game itself.


Presentation 97%
Innovative loading system and slick in-game presentation.


Graphics 92%
Very effective parallax starfield, pretty sprites and landscapes, and varied alien movement patterns.

Sound 97%
Excellent Rob Hubbard soundtrack and some good spot effects.

Hookability 79%
Easy to get into, but predictable after only a few plays.

Lastability 63%
32 levels and roughly 200 attack patterns, but very little real variety.

Value For Money 72%
There are cheaper shoot-'em-ups, but few as polished.

Overall 74%
A high quality production which lacks substance.

Delta | JR | SJ | GP | Verdict