There are two main elements in a game: chance and skill. For me, the balance should lie towards skill. In I.C.U.P.S., the balance lies towards chance, which is a pity because it could so easily have had a fair element of skill.
I.C.U.P.S. is based on the arcade-style road games where you're battling down the highway nudging and blasting your way through the traffic. In I.C.U.P.S. this scenario has been translated into a space tunnel which is busier than Marble Arch at rush hour. Instead of honking horns and cursing cabbies you have blazing lasers and flying bombs to content with as you dash along your route.
In the arcades, the screen is usually like a TV screen turned through 90 degrees and you race from top to bottom. In I.C.U.P.S. the screen is normal but you still chase from bottom to top. This means that you have no time to see and avod any obstacle ahead. Consequently, you die a lot.
If you somehow manage to limp through three boringly similar phases of tunnel, you are rewarded with fully replenished lives and a maze game.
Here, too, you live by your reflexes because the maze is inhabited by all manner of life forms who huddle around you and sap the life force from your body.
I found this game immensely frustrating to play. If the action took place across the screen instead of vertically, survival would be less reliant on pure luck and a happier time would be had by all.
It's a pity that the gameplay lets this down because the graphics are really good. At the bottom right of the screen is a little picture window which shows scrolling landscapes interspersed with a talking head. A masterpiece in miniature.
Fast action freaks may get a buzz from this but, for me, it does nothing at all.