By Thor
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Crash #33

I. C. U. P. S.

ICUPS, the International Commission for Universal Problem Solving, are looking for special agents of the highest calibre. Obviously, they feel they have to test the ability of any prospective agent and so this prominent organisation has devised two tests designed to assess just how well a would-be agent functions under stress. It's no good having any Tom, Dick or Harry or even a Wally when there's an important mission to complete. The game falls into two sections, both of which are designed to test you to the limit.

The action begins in a space tunnel with you in control of an Interstellar Escort Ship. The screen scrolls downwards as you travel up-screen through three sections of space which ultimately lead to the enemy starship. Along the way you must dodge and weave a way through swarms of remote control alien craft. At times it's very much like aerial bumping cars as enemy craft, not lethal in themselves, try to nudge you into the concrete walls either side of the tunnel or into the more lethal yellow craft. A collision with one of these is enough to lose one of your four lives, and there are the usual torpedoes to avoid. The yellow flying saucers cannot fire but must be avoided as collision is fatal. The other yellow craft cannot be destroyed so it's really a matter of keeping clear.

As you proceed through the three sections the score and the area (either A. B or C) are indicated. The tunnel walls of each section are different in colour so it's clear when one section has been completed. A small window in the right hand corner shows a laughing face when you lose a life just to rub it in. Lives are indicated by icons of the Interstellar Escort Ship in a panel on the left-hand side of the screen.

I. C. U. P. S.

Following the straightforward shoot em up of the first part comes the second test. Having reached the enemy starship, you find yourself in control of a DEEN Mk II a Hostile Environment Anthrobot no less. Four parts of a bomb which have been secreted somewhere within the enemy ship must be found. Insect-like nastier we determined to get in the way and need to be avoided or zapped with your laser gun... There are 64 screens in all so there's a great deal of exploring to do and you can move in any direction using the same keys as previously. In the weightlessness of the enemy spaceship there's an altogether different speed from the previous section. The robot floats up and down, turning this way and that in his attempt to find the four parts. In addition to the flying insects, he meets a Jaw-Head, a Bolt-Head, and a duck that sproings about in kangaroo fashion.

At the end of the two tests, an assessment is given of overall performance as well as a total score. Only by completing the tests to the examiners ' satisfaction will you be accepted as an elite member of the ICUPS team. Good luck!


Control keys: top row fire, second row thrust/accelerate, third row decelerate, alternate bottom row left/right
Joystick: Kempston, Cursor, Interface 2
Keyboard play: fast and responsive
Use of colour: very good, with limited amounts of clashes
Graphics: nice sprites, and good scrolling
Sound: ace tune on the title screen, with spot effects during the game
Skill levels: one
Screens: three areas in the first part of the game, with 64 in the second section

Other Spectrum 48K/128K Game Reviews By

  • Operation Thunderbowel Front Cover
    Operation Thunderbowel
  • Skull Front Cover
  • Pluggit Front Cover
  • Snodgits Front Cover
  • Byte Front Cover
  • Monty Is Innocent Front Cover
    Monty Is Innocent
  • Cagara Front Cover
  • Rescue On Fractalus! Front Cover
    Rescue On Fractalus!
  • Corruption Front Cover
  • Energy 30,000 Front Cover
    Energy 30,000