Code Masters is the title formed by two of Mastertronic's old programmers and they seem to have acquired another one because Terra Cognita was written by the author of the best-selling Non Terraqueous.
This game is an unpretentious shoot-'em-up plotted around a sentient robot planet. You fly across the planet as it is scrolling down towards you, trying to avoid the high barriers, finding the fuel, extra lives and bonuses. As this is happening, a mere two nasties try to stop you. This is a disappointing number of aliens and makes the screens look a bit sad. As you shoot one alien, another appears, all rather tacky and something that I thought I'd seen the back of in games years ago - we want more aliens!
The graphics are reasonable and easy to understand, the scrolling is very smooth and the use of colour is quite good. The game is about 100 screens long and there is definitely a right and a wrong way through, as some of the solid objects lead you into dead ends.
The game, whilst being slow and non-frantic (i.e. few aliens) is still difficult with skill being required to get through the well thought-out screens rather than the game being made harder with less chance of completing it and more luck thrown in. The action square are also a nice touch and very easy to use.
If this game was faster and had more aliens it would be excellent; as it stands, it is just good value for money.