When I saw the Atari ST version of Victory Road, I thought "UUURRGH' Dogfood!", which was quite fair considering that the ST is supposed to be a super-dooper sixteen-bit wonder-machine and Victory Road looked and played dead awful.
You can imagine then how enthusiastic I was about the prospect of reviewing the Spectrum version. As I loaded it (copyright T. Dillon Reviews inc) my horrible suspicions were confirmed; it looked terrible. Small sprites, very average animation, and uninteresting backgrounds. I began to play the game. Imagine my shock to find that as a game it was ACTUALLY QUITE GOOD and ENJOYABLE.
Victory Road is the sequel to the coin-op Ikari Warriors, and has the same general format - a vertically-scrolling Commando-style.
But this time it's a sci-fi rather than a warzone scenario. It also has the same two-player option; if you like you can select dual players, using a wide range of control options. This makes it easier to clear the baddies from the screen, but if one player lags behind, the screen stops scrolling until he catches up. Your partner cannot be harmed by your bullets, but he can be blown up by your grenades, so watch out (unless you're feeling particularly mean). 128K sound effects are impressively psychedelic.
On the subject of weapons, you start off with an automatic rifle, and grenades which fly forth if you hold down the fire button. As you make your way along the causeways and obstacles, you find flashing bonus squares which represent new weapons; a laser, temporary shield, and a marvellous automatic grenade launcher thingy which blasts huge craters in the landscape ahead of you.
A toggle control lets you choose the firing mode; either straight ahead of you or at an angle. And what a selection of creepies you have to shoot! Well, it's not much of a selection akchooloy; little zombie soldiers, fluttering butterfly thingies, hopping froggoids and strange twisty thingies which follow you around the screen. At the end of each level you enter a warp square and are transported to an arena where you take on a giant floating head. This isn't difficult to dodge, but takes a lot of hits to knock out, and it ejects zombie soldiers all the time. Blow the head away and you're back to the main road.
So surprisingly enough, though the initial impression is poor, there's plenty of slam-bang action and enough megaviolence to keep you happy until the next coin-op conversion comes along.
Label: Ocean Author: In-house Price: £8.95 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
Initially disappointing but eventually enjoyable coin-op conv.