Sinclair User5th January 1989
Published in Sinclair User #85
You are the Eliminator, a compassionless monster out to destroy destroy destroy! You race along an apparently infinite 3D track, round bends and up hills, past barriers, killing everything that moves while continually collecting more and more advanced weapons systems. Fab.
The nature of this sort of game prohibits any astounding graphics - since about ten sprites are needed for each shape of alien depending on how far away it is - though the bad guys look as menacing as they can. After a while you'll learn to live with the rather hypnotic eternal checkerboard effect on the floor and the ceiling.
Ceiling? Yes indeed. During parts of the game you can jump off ramps in the road and cling to the ceiling. Since all the features of the ground-level game are included on the ceiling, life isn't any easier; there are still aliens and traps, but you may be able to collect some extra bonuses before bouncing back down to earth again.
Alien attack waves are pleasingly varied. Some swoop in quickly while others circle in the distance in front of horrid spiky traps, concealing them from view. Depending on which weapon you've got at which stage, you'll either be completely invincible or dead within seconds. A weapon that fires at 45 tangents to your ship isn't much use when the bad guys stream down the centre of the screen in single file.
The fact that every time you lose a life you go back to a specific market point is good. Obviously it's better than going all the way back to the start. Eliminator, though, seems to have the most madly selected set of start points ever. You always go back to the start of the most difficult bit you've passed. Once you've fought for hours to get past a tricky bit, it's unfair to be forced to go through it again. Not fair. Lucky owners of other machines will have a password system enabling them to jump beyond levels they've already completed. Not so on the Spectrum version of Eliminator.
During your mission of death and destruction, you will find pyramid shaped objects which allow you to use different weapons and square boxes which will replenish your supplies of ammo. Depending on the state of your energy/guns/ammunition, you'll have to make effective choices because these bonuses are set in parallel style on the track, making it impossible to get both.
The track winds and dips happily and without a hint of flicker. The movement of the player and aliens is iffy by comparison. The amazing smoothness of the backdrop highlights their "small" failings.
There are lots of good things about Eliminator; scrolling, speed, simplicity And there are a fair few niggling points too; lack of depth, silly "start" positions, etc. I'd check it out before you buy it.
Okay 3D game. Nice touches. Loads of shooting.