Sinclair User

By Imagine
Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #79

The Vindicator

After the incredible success of the amazingly wicked arcade conversion of Green Beret, it was only logical that a sequel had to be released, and it's finally here. Bert, after battling the invading ruskies in Bert 1, is now faced with not a communist invasion, but an alien one. Apparently, you see, 'invaders from a distant star system have lain the Earth to waste'. Ooooh, sounds nasty.

First of all , you've got to find your way around the alien base. Set on 4 levels, each level is composed of a maze like series of corridors and rooms. Viewed in 3-D, each corridor is made up of a number of box-like sections, and you can only move your character around the section he's currently in. As soon as he tries to move into an adjacent 'box', the game flips and the view changes appropriately. Occasionally at various points along the walls, you find doors.

Normally, an alien will spring from the doorway and either chase you frantically around the box you're in, or it'll just take a pot shot at you. Behind the doors are, not surprisingly, rooms, and it's in these rooms that you find goodies like extra ammunition extra oxygen, passes to give you access to the lifts and colour-coded computer cards. It's with these cards that you access the main computer's on each level, which kindly give you maps of the level you're currently on, as well as the positions of the bomb pieces.

The Vindicator

The second bit is done as vertically scrolling yellow and black thing, much along the lines of Commado/Who Dares Wins 2/ and almost everything else ever released on the Spectrum. At first you control a plane in a daring raid over pockmarked fields and barns and scarecrows and things. Once you've flown the plane over the required amount of land, and then it into a jeep to cover the rest of the day. While flying your plane, you are attacked by other planes, enemy kamikaze helicopters, and various watchtowers. This bit is easy, as the only way you can die is if you are shot down, and as the bullets are relatively slow, they are pretty easy to avoid.

The second bit, however (that jeep bit), is a little harder. Well impossible is what I really mean. You are attacked by tanks that you can only grenade and to launch a grenade, you have to press space, which means you have to take your hands off the joystick, and by the time your hand has returned, you've invariably been shot or just run over by one of the tanks. The fact that there's nothing you can shoot with your bullets, is a bit odd, too. The enemy aren't the only hazardous bit of this section, either. If you don't drive carefully, you'll find yourself with a flat tyre, which totally mucks up your control.

Once across the wasteland, it's into the lair of Gog. Before you can get to Gog, however, you have to work your way down into Hades itself. This is done as a side-view flip screen thingy. You are attacked by lots of little demon like creatures who throw fireballs and laserbolts in your direction.

The Vindicator

They are pretty easy to pick off, and only pose a problem when there's a lot on screen at once all approaching from different directions. To get to Gog, you have to get through the many levels, and this is done through a mixture of falling down holes and using the lifts dotted around here and there. Most of the time, however, you have to fall down trapdoors, and to fall down them, you have to open them. To open them, you have to find switches hidden at the ends of the platforms.

Graphics are large, well defined and can be said to do their job well enough.

Even so I can't help feeling incredibly disappointed with Vindicator. As a sequel to a wonder arcade conversion, it's a big letdown. As the hyped game it has become, it's more than a disappointment. What you get for your money is one incredibly tedious maze game, one pretty good shoot-'em-up and one average fall-down-the-holes type game.

Overall Summary

Disappointing sequel to one of the best games of last year.

Tony Dillon

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