Computer Gamer

By Thalamus
Commodore 64/128

Published in Computer Gamer #27

Thalamus strike again with a smart-looking Nemesis clone.Thalamus strike again with a smart-looking Nemesis clone


Delta is Stavros Fasulas' follow-up to Sanxion and is Thalamus' second release. I didn't rate Sanxion as I felt that it was just another attempt to cash in on Braybrook's Uridium. I felt the music was over-rated - not a patch on Monty On The Run, Thing On A Spring or International Karate, though Sanxion did have one redeeming feature, its velocity controlled parallax scrolling but that doesn't feature in this game.

In Delta, you must make your way through 32 scrolling levels, each about four screens long. To help you, there are weapons you can buy to aid you in your task, but the trick is being able to buy them. To obtain one credit you must annihilate one astro wave. That's the problem - the waves aren't random, they are pre-defined, as in Sanxion, which makes the game tedious and boring. This means the game goes the same way as Thing On A Spring or Manic Miner - you have to work out what to do and repeat it each go. If you miss just *one* alien in a wave, you don't get a credit and you can't buy the right weapon, so you can't destroy the next wave, so you can't buy another weapon... it sets off a chain reaction and, of course, if you haven't got enough speed, you may die. Missing just one alien can spell doom. Not nice if you are on the 31st level!

There are seven weapons you can buy. Extra speed - one credit, can be increased to a maximum of four (you start with one) after which the engine blows and you go back to one. Extra bullets - two credits, you start by only firing one bullet at a time, but with each extra one you buy it increases to a maximum of three. Multiple fire - three credits, this simple device means that whenever you press fire you fire a bullet up, down and backwards as well. Fish weapon - four credits, very neat device this, it flanks your first forward bullet of every round (i.e. not every bullet if you've got three) with another, so in effect you fire a trident.


Protector - five credits, a yellow ball circling your ship wiping out anything it hits, you're still vulnerable though. Warper - six credits shows the scrolling speed down. Supa Shield - seven credits a permanent protector against the enemy, obliterates everything.

Some points to note; the speed controls how fast you move up, down, left, right, not the scrolling. Second point, to get the weapons a wave of icons will scroll past every so often (pre-determined) and the ones you can afford will be highlighted in blue; the others, in grey, cause death on impact. This leads me to my final gripe - if you have max speed, your joystick becomes more sensitive so creating difficulties in getting through these waves. But if you die you must go through them again, so it is possible to lose all your lives of because a programming mistake. Also, even if you don't buy anything, or don't spend all your credits, you lose any remaining ones, so you can't save up for a Supa Shield.

Whilst loading, there is an innovative 'Mix-e-Music' by Rob Hubbard - you can change the four voices individually, but I found it interfered with the loading, although the tune itself is pretty good. The title screen music is excellent, pure Rob Hubbard. You can't do Prokofiev on a chip so there's no point in trying. However, the in-game music is very poor for some reason, but it gets better the farther you get - the only incentive I had to continue playing! But the FX are excellent. Graphically, the game is unsurpassable.

The character set and sprites are wonderful, your ship spins as you play, and the way some of the aliens animate, twisting in and out of themselves like eels, is marvellous. The backgrounds too are excellent, but a lot happens in open space. The game looks and feels like a coin-op and would not look out of place in an arcade, but it is unplayable. I don't want to play a game where one minor error finishes you off.