The Micro User


Microcosm
By Firebird
BBC Model B

 
Published in The Micro User 3.09

Galactic gardening

In Microcosm from Firebird, you are a maintenance engineer stranded out in deep space on board a ship carrying a priceless cargo of Terran plant life.

Your task is to repair the ladders and keep the plants alive for as long as possible. Collecting single parts of the maintenance ladders from one of six dispatch points, you must take them to the base of any ladder.

You can only hold one piece of ladder at any one time and it will take a few goes before the ladder you're building is finished.

Microcosm

Next to your score at the to of the screen is the Phloem indicator which displays the health of the plants. With every passing second the Phloem bar decreases. When it gets very low, a beep will sound and this tells you that the plants have started to wilt.

To revive them you must drop your laser back-pack on one of two vacant ledges, then go down to the bottom of the ledge and collect the nutrient-blaster back-pack, which looks like a small watering-can.

With this you can go up to the wilting plants and shoot at them until the Phloem bar rises to a satisfactory level. Then you can swop back to your laser pack and continue rebuilding the ladders.

Microcosm

Hovering around the screen all the time are the mutant insects called Aphids which look like fioating faces. These can easily be bumped off with a cool blast from your laser pack. In later levels you will encounter two more enemies - spiders and beetles.

These generally make a nuisance of themselves by coming down from the top of the screen just at the wrong moment. Both are indestructible so they must be avoided.

Other hazards to avoid are the acid drops which fall randomly from the top of the screen. If you touch one you lose a life. These, too, are indestructible.

There is no joystick option, but the keys are easy to use. While the graphics are only average, the sound is quite good. Freeze-frame is available at any time, so you do get time to catch your breath.

The game is not too difficult and I feel it will prove popular with the younger generation of game addicts. And, at the price of just £2.50, they won't have to raid their piggy-banks to buy it.

Simon Rubins

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