The plot of the game is set out as follows: 'The outbreak happened so fast there was no time to contain it. The biological entity codenamed MG101: The Malignant Gore consumed everything in its path. By the time the alarm system activated, only one survivor remained - a lone scientist blinded by panic'.
If he can get to the mainframe computer and input the self-destruct sequence, perhaps we can destroy MG101 forever. It is a suicide mission, but left untended the Malignant Gore will continue to spread until it has consumed all life on Earth. This is our only chance.
Your job is to man the gun turrets and guide our survivor through the contaminated rooms of the Omicron Shadow Facility. Each turret only holds 6 bullets, so use them wisely. If you make a mistake you can use a temporal sphere to reset time and try again. These spheres are very rare, so use them sparingly. If you run out, all hope is lost! Although the setting and the concept of the game is nothing new the gameplay itself feels original and fresh. The idea of the panicking scientist is fantastic and his mania transfers to you as you play it. This is a showcase of how immersive a zx game with a basic concept can be.
The gameplay itself would be outstanding with a lightgun but as it stands at the moment you control the crosshairs with the keys. You dispose of any enemies in the way and shoot sign posts which tell the character which way to run. This creates frantic gameplay as you quickly have to solve the problems on screen before your character runs into the gore or a tentacled terror. Worse yet, you are limited to six shots so sometimes in a Deadpool fashion you may need to take out multiple enemies with one bullet. Timing is key and time is short, adding to the pressure.
The character is running endlessly so you have to think quickly if he is to survive. There are sometimes keys needed to open doors which force you to explore every part of the screen and quickly formulate your plan. This is easier said than done. When you die you can use 'R’ to reset the screen but this is where the genius of the game becomes apparent. Before resetting you have as much time as you like to examine the screen and plan your route so you can avoid wasting more lives. As you memorise levels each time you progress that little bit further making you feel like you are continuously progressing. There’s a great ending sequence if you are good enough to get there which is something missing from many classic Speccy games.
The graphics create a real feel of impending doom with the malignant gore overtaking much of the screen and the terrifying tentacled monsters are an ominous threat throughout.
The gameplay is fast and frantic but allows the player to learn from their mistakes and death leads to learning opportunities. The concept is original and fresh.
Sometimes there is not enough time to take in the screen before your character meets an untimely end. This can be frustrating as even if you know how to traverse a level, taking two seconds to recognise it can be too long! There is no in-game music which is understandable considering the memory limitations but a creepy or intense background melody would have further added to the atmosphere.
I have returned to The Malignant Gore several times over the past few months to have another quick blast through it. The game leaves a lasting impression and encourages you to master it.
There is no lazy programming and the level design is excellent throughout. The game creates a unique and creepy ambience and the hectic gameplay which becomes more erratic as the Scientist controlling the gun turrets becomes more panicked is a stroke of genius! If you enjoy puzzle games (or games in general) you should definitely give this one a go!