Orion (Software Projects) Review | Crash - Everygamegoing


By Software Projects
Spectrum 48K

Published in Crash #4


After an attack by the Dark Horde, 100 of your Beta Class androids were kidnapped. Your mission is to rescue the androids from the underground maze beneath the palace of Nedab, the leader of the Horde. Twenty-five caverns are laid out on a 5 x 5 grid. Starting from the central cavern, you must journey through all of them collecting your androids. There are four imprisoned androids per cavern.

Green Zygon guards are on patrol in the mazes. Although these only wander around aimlessly, they kill on contact. Your Orion buggy is equipped with WX110 force screens (the ones with the whiter-than-white green specs) which, when activated, enable you to destroy Zygons. There are also white coloured Renlim (for faster acting relief) and these can be run over for extra points, but your scanners will become deactivated until you collect another android.

This puts it fairly simply, but should you run over a second Renlim before collecting an android, you will be destroyed, and your force field needs replenishing after use. This happens automatically but it does take time, so repeated contact with Zygons will result in death.


The screen is split into a large playing square to the left and a taller status panel on the right which shows score, hi-score, time and shield power.

Each of the mazes is relatively simple in layout and there are four Zygons and four Renlims to cope with. When you run over a Renlim, only the small squares at each intersection remain (your scanners are deactivated), so it becomes hard to make your way round the maze to collect the next android. When you leave a maze the screen flashes, closes down. then opens up to reveal the new maze into which you have moved, re- establishing the scanners if they were still out.


Control keys: Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, B-force field
Joystick: Kempston, Hardware Projects Soundstik
Keyboard play: very responsive
Use of colour: very good
Graphics: smooth, fast and detailed
Sound: very good
Skill levels: 1 but 4 speeds
Lives: 3
Screens: 25

Comment 1

'Fortunately your force field is ever recharging, so it pays to keep an eye on the status board, because it is drained very quickly too. There are four movement speeds which can be altered actually during play to give you bursts of speed, but, of course, everything else speeds up too. A good addictive game with plenty going on. The aliens are very nicely drawn and colours have been used well. The sound has also been well used to give maximum enjoyment without the expense of a headache!'

Comment 2

'Maze games seem to remain popular with programmers, and it is becoming harder to find something new to do with them. Orion actually resembles a 'Berserk' game in some respects, but the graphics lift it far above those humble beginnings. This is a very simple idea - go in and rescue your androids, but it manages to be playable and quite addictive. The graphics are detailed and reasonably smooth and I enjoyed playing it.'

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