Uridium (Hewson) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By Hewson Consultants
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #32

A high speed shoot-'em-up from Hewson that confronted the doubters


A high speed shoot-'em-up from Hewson that confounded the doubters

We seem to be seeing a lot of games at the moment that were deemed impossible to create on the Spectrum even six months ago. Uridium is such a game and the fact that it has been converted so effectively from the Commodore 64 would seem to suggest that the rulebook on what is currently possible on the Spectrum will have to be rewritten yet again.

All this is good news for the game player as standards are rising significantly and Uridium is a shoot-'em-up which is surprising, both in its speed and subtlety.

As with the best arcade games, the plot is almost irrelevant, but for the record the solar system is under attack from huge platform spaceships called Super Dreadnoughts. The aliens need the earth's mineral resources and each dreadnought is assigned a different metal ore to collect. This gives the game its structure as you are put in command of a Manta Class space fighter and sent out to destroy first the Lead dreadnought then the Zinc and so on.

The action plays from left to right as opposed to the more traditional vertical shoot-'em-up game. Your first objective is to knock out the enemy fighters which protect the dreadnought and then destroy the surface defences. The deck of the dreadnought is studded with structures that you can collide with and there are also generator ports which, if you are unlucky enough to activate them, dispense homing mines which, unless you can outrun them, blow you to smithereens.

Once you have fought your way through al this, you fly off the end of the dreadnought and the instruction 'Land now' flashes up. It's then time to double back and land on the main runway of the ship's deck. Even when you think you've accomplished this, a mine may be activated and destroy you as you land. Successfully landing enables you to vaporise the dreadnought.

As described, Uridium may shoot like 101 other shoot-'em-up but it distinguishes itself both by its speed and the manoeuverabiilty of the fighter under your control. A particularly neat touch is the fighter's method of turning - a smooth acrobatic flip which means you can literally turn on a sixpence, even when travelling at speed.

The graphics too are impressive with a lot of detail. To avoid attribute clashes Uridium is fashionably monochrome with a change in colour to indicate level changes.

The game can be played with either joystick or keyboard with one or two player options and it's definitely a game that will spark endless squabbles over whose turn it is next to have a crack at the dreadnought.

Uridium proves there is still a lot of life left in the shoot-'em-up format, especially at this level of sophistication and it is highly recommended for anyone with an itchy trigger finger.