Sinclair User

By The Hit Squad
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Sinclair User #104


Beyond infinity (which is pretty far away by anyone's standards) lies the evil galaxy dominated by the forces of the despotic Salamander. Some hero (you, to be precise) must persuade his compatriots the join him on a journey to Hell (just think of Birmingham Bullring Shopping Centre on a Saturday afternoon and double it).

Konami's coin-op Salamander was one of the first derivatives of Nemesis, the prototypical pick-up-the-extra-weapons game which led to dozens of imitators such as R-Type. Despite being first released in 1988 - an age ago! - Ocean's conversion stands up pretty well to the test of time.

Here's the poop. Your super-dooper space fighter flies horizontally through four levels of gunky alien dimensions, menaced by Nuclear Spiders, infernos, Caverns of Despair, Demons of Dreadfulness and Traffic Wardens of Terror (I made that bit up). As you fly along waves of baddies come at you, and if you zap an entire wave a bonus token appears; fly over it for added weaponfulness. Trouble is, you start off with a pathetically slow and under-powered ship, so you have to pick up some weapons FAST if you hope to survive the Awful Wiggly Space Snakes and so on.


Extra weapons available include speed-ups, penetrating lasers, diagonal missiles, and, er, other stuff. Since the alien attackers are extremely predictable, all you have to do is to learn the positioning and manoeuvres necessary to get through each stage, and hang on to as many weapons as you can ('cos of course you lose them if you lose a life).

There's a two-player mode, but that's alternate turns rather than two ships at once. Needless to say, the end-of-level guardians are more horrific than a cold pizza left over from a particularly dissolute Saturday night, and the sound effects are suitably bleepy. The ultimate target is the huge brain which controls Salamander's domain.

Salamander might not be as sophis as some of the more recent titles, where the weapons are nastier, the baddies uglier and the destruction horrificaler, but at £2.99 you can't really go wrong. Strap on your laser pistol and give it a shot.

Overall Summary

Good budget laser action. Showing its age a bit, but fun, nonetheless.

Chris Jenkins

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