Mantronix (Probe) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By Probe Software Ltd
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #28


Get on the trail of interstellar villains with the bounty hunting robot Mantronix

You've finally done it - at long last you've managed to achieve Legal Combat Status and qualify as a galactic Bounty Hunter.

So, like all budding bounty hunters, you're ready to track down all the bad guys in the universe and rake in the rewards (not that you're doing it for the money of course, the chance to fight for truth, justice and all that tosh is its own reward after all).

The nice thing about being a bounty hunter in 2001 AD is that you can get your remote controlled Mantronix robot to do all the dirty work for you. The Mantronix is equipped with a pulse laser for combat, and you can control its movements and actions via the Mark 1 Autoscan that allows you to observe the Mantronix at all times.

When you're hunting villains the planet Zybor is *the* place to be. The entire planet is populated by defence humanoids whose only purpose in life is to defend the four criminals who are hiding on the planet. Information about each of these criminals is presented on your communications console, and consoles of the criminal's name, nature of his crime and the bounty on his head.

The surface of the planet is seen as a series of grid-like surfaces, presented in the 3D Knight Lore style graphics that are so popular these days. As you walk across the planet's surface, the screen display switches quickly to show the latest section of the grid that you've moved onto. The display from your autoscan is in just two colours, to avoid attribute clashes, though the background colour varies from screen to screen.

The defence humanoids are easy to spot as they're the only things moving. They bounce around the screen, slowly homing in on you, but if you're quick on your feet you can outmanoeuvre them and get into position and blast them with your laser.

Also scattered around the planet are various obstacles, many of which are harmless in themselves, but which can slow you down if you're being chased by one of the humanoids, as well as items of treasure that can be collected to increase your credit rating. Some sections of the planet surface are impassable so you have to find alternate routes, whilst other parts conceal conveyor belts that send you trundling along, unable to change direction.

Added to all this are the power packs that are needed to fuel your craft when you leave and also to neutralise some of the objects that can kill you.

Though the animation is nice and smooth and the graphics themselves are all large and clear, I must admit that I had quite a lot of trouble when it came to moving around and shooting at these things. The choice of control keys was a bit odd, and even when a Kempston joystick was used the directional controls still took a bit of getting used to, with the result that at first I had to play an awful lot of games without getting anywhere just to familiarise myself with the controls. But once I became more used to the controls, the pace of the game started to pick up as I got closer and closer to tracking down my quarry.

Mantronix puts less emphasis on problem-solving than the Ultimate games, but it is a good, tricky shoot-'em-up, with a large playing area that should keep your trigger finger flexing for a long time.