Rebel (Virgin) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Virgin Games
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #29

Rebel | JR | SJ | Verdict


Agricultural operative THX2240 is not happy with her lot in life: working on the state controlled Soya plantation is a little too much like a concentration camp for her liking.

Already restless, the final straw is a threat of unconditional termination for failure to attend her crops. In a fit of anger, she decides to steal a Crowd Control Vehicle (CCV), and escape from the agricultural bloc. In short, she has turned rebel...

Throughout the complex, giant solar conductors are used to provide artificial sunlight for crops during bad weather. Their intense rays are directed around the plantation by means of solar reflectors - and these are so powerful they can be used for destructive purposes. This is how THX decides to escape the plant.

The different compounds within the agricultural bloc are separated by sealed exit tunnels. By driving around the complex in the CCV, THX can alter the positions of the reflectors in order to direct the intense beam of radiation toward the exits. One blast from the beam and access to the next section is hers.

The plantation is displayed on-screen from an overhead viewpoint. The armoured vehicle is directed around the scrolling complex, collecting and turning reflectors as desired. Once correctly positioned, the solar generator can be fired to breach the exit, at which point the CCV appears in the next, more complex section.

During THX's attempt to escape, police surveillance vehicles are constantly patrolling the grounds and flying overhead. Aircraft fire upon the CCV whenever it falls within range, and contact with the armoured patrol vehicles results in immediate termination. The CCV also carries weaponry and can protect itself from aerial attack, but the heavily armoured tanks must be avoided at all costs. Escape from this new world is by no means easy...


After the excellent Dan Dare I expected a little more than an expansion of an idea from COF's last game. Taken as a game in itself, it's fun and proves quite mind-taxing as you attempt to line up the lasers - but I never felt particularly excited by the action.

Rebel is an enjoyable diversion, but doesn't really contain enough to warrant its expensive price tag.


Anyone who has played the earlier Virgin classic Dan Dare will immediately recognise this from the sub-game where Dan has to destroy computers by bouncing a laser beam off mirrors, having first arranged them corretly.

As such, it's quite enjoyable, having to work out where the reflectors should be placed, and then watching with glee as the beam whizzes around the plantation to destroy the exit portal.

Unfortunately, the control method is clumsy and makes the game an awful lot harder to play than necessary. I would have preferred a more complex puzzle and the removal of the patrol craft, since they only serve to overcomplicate things and appear to have been included as an afterthought to liven things up a bit.


Presentation 53%
Decent documentation, but little else apart from a perfunctory title screen.

Graphics 59%
The bas-relief backgrounds are spoiled by gaudy sprites.

Sound 52%
Great title track, but little more than harsh white noise effects during the game.

Hookability 40%
The confusing control method leaves a lot to be desired.

Lastability 58%
There's a game in there if you look for it.

Overall 61%
An initially rewarding, but ultimately unplayable development of an original concept.

Rebel | JR | SJ | Verdict