Short Circuit (Ocean) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Short Circuit
By Ocean
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in ZX Computing #37

Short Circuit

"Number five - Alive!" is the plaintive plea of a robot that was hit by lightning in a freak thunderstorm and is now alive! You must help him escape from Nova Robotics and keep him alive! The only trouble is that he's a SAINT robot (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) and he's still armed! The scientist who built him wants to take him apart to find out what went wrong. Nova's boss wants to capture him before millions are killed and the security chief wants to blast so he can get home in time for dinner. You must keep him alive.

Based on the superb film, Short Circuit (highly recommended - go and see it immediately!), the game is split into two parts. In part one you must escape from the Nova Robotics complex with the essential jump and laser accessories and in part two you must flee for your life and avoid the pursuing guards that aim to disassemble you! You can attempt the parts in either order but it's logical to begin with part one.

The game begins with Number 5 alone in a room full of mysterious desks, chairs and plants and he's only got a LINK program. He needs input! Luckily, he can log on to terminals and download additional software. After a little exploration, you'll soon find a terminal and be able to download the programs to SEARCH, USE and READ. Now you can explore the rooms of the complex, SEARCH for useful objects which you can then USE to solve the game's problems. Searching couldn't be easier as all you do is stand in front of an object, select the SEARCH program on a duckshoot menu and press the Fire button. The results of your search will be reported on your printer, which also presents you with single key options if you've found an object you can pick up, or books to read ("ooohhh input!") that provide important clues.

As you progress through the complex, you'll find locked doors, file cabinets and units that require keys and coloured passes to open them and eventually another terminal. Now you can download three more programs that allow Number 5 to DROP objects (useful as he can carry only three at a time), BREAK and LOOK with which you can identify objects. For example, something that you thought was an empty desk actually turns into a fruit machine and a use for the pound coin that you found stashed away in a plant pot.


As with all arcade adventures a map is essential, particularly if you mark on it where you found each object, no matter how obscure, as might find a use for it although it's hard to imagine why you'd want a coffee cup, paper clip or scared mouse!

In part two, Number 5 is literally on the run as he's being chased by other SAINT robots and he's determined to get away. Armed with the laser and jump mechanisms, you must hurtle along a country road strewn with rocks and wildlife.

By now, Number 5 has developed a conscience and must avoid disassembling the birds and crawling creatures otherwise he'll get so depressed that he gives up.

Using keyboard or joystick controls, you must time your leaps and ducks to avoid the wildlife while also avoiding the boulders that will injure and break him while keeping a finger near the laser fire button in case a robot or guard gets too close.

Number 5 is alive! It's up to you to keep him that way.

A Monster Hit.