The Micro User


Author: Hac Man
Publisher: Audiogenic
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in The Micro User 6.07

A real killer

Shark is one of two new titles from Audiogenic, the first all year. The scenario is typical - the bad guys have invaded in force and you, Colonel Shark, are the only hope. A tough assignment, but you'll have to handle it.

It turns out to be a sideways-scrolling wargame very much in the mould of Green Beret. As in that, you can jump around the screen so that one moment you may be running along the ground and the next running along a girder.

There are a number of sections: Jungle, barrack square, town streets and more. Each sector is immediately distinctive - In the jungle one you can run along the ground and through clearings, and jump up on to giant blocks of stone and tree branches. In town you can jump on to window ledges the roofs of houses and so on. Clever use of dithering - mixing the colours of adjacent pixels to give the appearance of new ones - adds to the overall effect.


You certainly need to keep on the move as an endless stream of foot soldiers bear down on you. Luckily, your rifle makes short work of them. However, the trucks and helicopters are more robust and much more dangerous. The helicopters appear in the sky and home in on you, dropping bombs all the time. The trucks drive at you showering bombs your way.

You must shoot both helicopters and trucks several times before they burst into flames, but the danger does not stop there - you now have to contend with an armed and understandably irritated pilot or driver charging you on foot. Contact with anything that moves is fatal.

However, some useful bonuses are on offer if you can get to them. Killing certain foot soldiers lets you retrieve their backpacks: Collect them to find amachine gun, extra lives, temporary invulnerability or other goodies.


The game features some nice touches: Your one-man quest is accompanied by some catchy interrupt-driven music but you can also slaughter in silence. The playing keys can be redefined and the colour schemes altered to make viewing easier if you are using a monochrome display. The pause/restart, quit, and sound on/off options are all present and correct.

One drawback lets the game down: The lack of accuracy in detecting collisions. Many a time I have sidestepped an enemy soldier or seen a bomb land well short of me only to find myself disappearing in a puff of red smoke. It is an irritating flaw in an otherwise enjoyable game.

Shark is a simple and bracing shoot-anythmg-that-moves. It's a little too similar to Green Beret to appeal to anyone who already has that, but Colonel Shark will certainly win his share of devotees, especially among those seeking a hero to inherit the mantle of Commander Stryker.

Hac Man

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