Publisher: CRL
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #36


The good ship Thundercross is being sucked into a vast, intergalactic Hoover. As captain of the ship, it's the player's task to guide it to safety, destroying any aliens and ground installations unfortunate enough to be in the way.

The screen scrolls horizontally from left to right, with the Thundercross able to move anywhere on the screen. When firing, however, the ship remains stationary, and joystick action releases bullets in the corresponding direction.

Opposition arrives in the form of attacking aliens, which fire missiles towards the ship, and raised sections of the vacuum, collision with which is fatal. Both aliens and ground bases are destroyed by the player's weaponry.


Firepower and shield strength decrease according to the number of enemy hits sustained, but are replenished with time. Failure to destroy enough of the Space Hoover results in death by inhalation.


This really is appalling: the wholly simplistic title screen leads you into gameplay which is unbelievably dire.

The graphics are poor beyond belief, with blocky and unartistic backdrops scrolling jerkily beneath your ship. Not that your ship is any better: unimaginative, bland and clumsy, it slides sloth-like around the screen.

The alien sprites are similarly pathetic: miniscule, colourless and weedy, they offer the occasional missile when they feel like it. The generally gaudy impression is relieved only by the pretty flames emanating from the ship's exhaust.

Forget the rest of the presentation: the sound is pitiful and the title track instantly bland.

If the gameplay were any better, it might make an average game - but it isn't, and doesn't.


CRL have produced some poor games in their time but Thundercross is definitely vying for the biscuit-taker's award. Although an interesting idea (and admittedly an attempt at something unusual) the control method fails utterly: the ship cannot be moved while blasting and the constant switching between manoeuvring and waggling/blasting proves really uncomfortable.

This is too serious a fault for any redemption by other facets of the game, none of which are capable, anyway: the graphics are substandard fare, becoming increasingly worse as progress is made across the gaudy bas-relief Hoover sections; the scrolling is far from perfect, and the bullet/ship collision detection is biased toward the enemy.

Repetitive action is the final nail in the coffin.


Presentation 21%
Simple instructions, feeble scenario, uncomfortable control method and uninspiring display.

Graphics 26%
Blocky, dull backdrops, unimaginative and badly detailed sprites and a poor man's ship.

Sound 55%
Pleasant title tune but non-descript effects.

Hookability 25%
The unattractive action and tedious gameplay repel any concentration.

Lastability 11%
Nothing worthwhile to draw you back.

Overall 16%
An extremely substandard shoot-'em-up at any price.