Long, long ago the Jewels of Ozymandius were stolen by a cruel and despotic civilisation and buried deep beneath the surface of the planet Mergatron. You need to recover the jewels and in your Marauder Battlecar arrive on the planet, which is protected by an ancient defence.
An aerial view of the scrolling playing area shows your car and its surroundings. A panel below shows your lives, smart bombs and any messages that appear.
Then there's the weapon beacons which flash through red, yellow, cyan, blue, purple and green. Red, yellow and cyan are beneficial: they give you an extra smart bomb, shields and a bonus life respectively. Shields makes you invulnerable for ten seconds and the smart bombs blow away everything on screen. Blue, purple and green are harmful: control reversal, lose a life and laser jammed are the consequences.
The graphics are well drawn, colour is well used and the scrolling is very smooth. An excellent tune plays on the title screen and another even better one plays throughout the game. If you prefer sound effects then you can turn the tune off and have them instead.
First impressions of just another shoot-'em-up with pretty graphics disappear after a few games. The weapon beacons, essential to solving the game, make a difference. Just going for extra lives is not a good idea, and there are times when the only way out is to use a smart bomb. In some ways, it's like Highway Encounter, with problems to be solved, hazards to be avoided and bad guys to blast. It has a similar addictive quality that keeps you wanting to play just once more. And the music is brilliant.
A curiosity, this: it's a poorish game by Hewson's high standards, yet it would be a blockbuster for many others.
Yet another vertical scrolling shoot-'em-up, but one requiring thought as well as fast co-ordination.
Complete zone 1.
P. Excellent use of colour.
N. Smooth vertical scrolling.
P. Fantastic title tune...
P. And an even better one in play.
Grab Factor 76%
P. Immensely addictive.
N. Very frustrating, until you learn your way around.
Staying Power 72%
P. Completing enough one level is tough enough.
N. Annoying when you're sent a way back because you lost a life.
P. A very good game...
N. ...but Hewson are capable of more.