Sinclair User21st September 1987
Published in Sinclair User #69
I once swore that I would eat my socks before describing any game as 'simple yet maddeningly addictive'. So here goes... mmff, grumpf, glup, glup, glup... eeyuch.
Lazerwheel is both simple and addictive.
It's also the first shoot-'em-up I've come across where you can't even move your ship. It just sits there, revolving in the middle of a circle of space. Around the screen are counters for score, level, number of hits, time remaining and damage caused.
All you have to do is pick off the aliens which circle, indian-like, around the rim of the circle.
If you hit the rim of the circle, you will cause damage. Hit the same spot again, and your missile will bounce back and kill you. If the damage count reaches 100 percent, you're snuffed. To reduce the damage count, you have to hit certain types of alien.
Different aliens react in different ways. Hit a spinning square, for instance, and it will split into two 'mixers'. Eliminate these when they cross, and you will clear all your damage and score yourself a fine 100 points bonus into the bargain.
Other aliens simply reverse direction, get smaller, or speed up the first time you hit them. The challenge is to keep track of lots of little nasties rotating at different speeds in different directions, and to zap them without blowing yourself away by shooting wildly.
The clever bit is that there are eight levels which you have to defend simultaneously, jumping to whichever level is most in need of help.
Looks awful, sounds awful - but at £1.99 I don't think you'll be disappointed by Lazerwheel's play value.
Desperately simple game, graphics, sound and everything else. Yet, surprisingly, it's still very playable.