Tau Ceti: Special Edition (CRL) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

Tau Ceti: Special Edition
Spectrum 128K

Published in ZX Computing #36

Tau Ceti: Special Edition

When you've crammed a whole planet into 48K, what more can you do for the 128 version?

Owners of the 128 and +2 have waited in vain for the torrent of games that were going to take advantage of all that extra memory. Games for the 128 only have been few and far between and "enhanced" versions of 48K games have often been disappointing, applying cosmetic graphics touches but not really exploiting the memory increase.

With Tau Ceti, a game that seemed to cram an enormous amount into 48K, the potential was obviously there to produce an upgraded version appropriate to the wide open spaces of the 128's memory. It's pleasing to report that CRL have done a good job in upgrading the original with a bigger gameplay area on the planet surface, improved graphics, more atmospheric pictures of building interiors and a lot more information available at sites like the library and time vault.

For those unfamiliar with the 48K version, Tau Ceti is a sophisticated shoot-'em-up of great complexity calling for a degree of strategy along with some determined zapping. The plot centres on Gal Corps efforts to recolonise Tau Ceti III. You as pilot of a "skimmer" spacecraft must show down the fusion reactor in the capital city Centralis. Pitted against you are all manner of robot-controlled defence systems.

The action takes place on and above the planet surface. If you can successfully dock with a building, you can gain access to valuable information, flying your craft through an airlock to reach a docking bay requires a steady hand on the joystick.

Tau Ceti requires dedication to be enjoyed to the full, but the shoot-'em-up element supplies enough instant gratification to pull you into the game proper. If you like games that you can become thoroughly absorbed in, Tau Ceti fits the bill and if you are a new Spectrum 128 owner it's a must. Whether the enhancements make it worthwhile buying a 128 version if you already have the 48K game is debatable and depends mainly on how enthralled you were by the original. Tau Ceti: The Special Edition, more than justifies its £9.95 price tag and gives a foretaste of what this virtually unexplored machine may be able to do when pushed to its limits.