Ultima Ratio hangs threateningly above the earth, an ominously powerful nine-stage battle platform controlled by an alien race. But its inexorable progress earthward can be stopped by your highly manoeuvrable fighter.
This craft can find its way through the intricacies of the platform's superstructure, which contains killer units and direction-reversing devices, multiple pulse guns and shielding.
Your multidirectional ship carries blasters (and limited ammunition) to counter an alien defence squad of fighters, which flit unpredictably across the squared surface of the platform.
All enemy craft and many of the platform's carbuncular constructions must be destroyed before you can reach the next section of the battle platform.
And your fighter's shielding is weakened and eventually destroyed by alien fire and dangerous ricochets from your own blasting. In this unprotected state the fighter's five lives can be quickly lost. But shielding can be renewed and fuel replenished in rejuvenating zones.
Time screens show the seconds left for each stage as you fight through this vertical flick-screen space world.
'Ultima Ratio is another shoot-everything game with a colourful backdrop. The graphics are well-defined and colour is used very effectively - every block in the background has its own colour, and there's no clash. And the small monitor screens around the play area, showing how much time you've got left, give that extra boost of panic! This is a real neat shoot-'em-up; I just wonder how on Earth you kill the last alien on zone 01!'
'How can anyone expect a success from something as unplayable and unrewarding as this? The graphics are poor; the colour is used far too liberally and the characters are unattractive, dull, and unoriginal. Some may buy it purely on impulse at £1.99- it's them I pity. Ultima Ratio is awful.'
'The similarity to Lightforce stops at the colour-masking technique - everything else in Ultima Ratio is inferior. There's a serious lack of decent sound, which would bring the game to life, and it gets boring very quickly - mainly because of the appalling control method. After a long line of very impressive budget games, the Buzby boys have come up with a below-average product.'