Astro Phobus
By Goliat eXperience Games
Spectrum 48K/128K/+2/+3

Published in Crash #4

Astro Phobus

Although not a direct sequel to the games Dark Transit and Dark Transit II, Astro Phobos is based in the same universe and has a similar theme. Though no longer in control of Kappa 33975, you take on the role of Hal, a miner who, having just finished his long, tiring shift, witnesses an incident involving some rather gruesome (and evil) aliens. Not the bets way to sign off work of an evening.

You are not alone, and by that I don't just mean because there are some unsavoury creatures lurking about but also because you have some of your other colleagues to worry about - namely, your best friend Ash. Should you not want him to become someone's dinner, you'd better think of a way out of here before it's too late.

Hal doesn't have any weapons to fight off these aliens unfortunately, so you'll have to think of another way to get past these bloodthirsty beings and navigate your way out of this vast mine, hopefully taking Ash with you.

Paul Davies

Not only does Hal not have any weapons, but he also can't jump either which makes the game a little trickier than you may think. What it also means though, is that you have to use height as an advantage - whether this be in the form of moving a platform or via the climbing of stairs, getting the fall just right will keep you on your toes as you manoeuvre your way left or right on the way down to ground. You'll need to do this to either avoid the waiting alien mosnter or 'pits of death' as I like to call them.

The game runs well with a rather fantastic AY soundtrack (128K only) which has shades of 90s rave thrown in at regular intervals. No time to grab your whistle or get your hi-vis on though, as there are plenty of rooms for you to navigate through and make your escape.

The lack of weapons means that you have to get creative in avoiding any aliens in your path; from using the electronic door controls to lock them in as you move around them, to mkaing use of the moveable towers that destroy the aliens on contact, timing is everything if you want to make any kind of progress. Astro Phobos is simple in looks, which is no bad thing, though it's also just a little too simple in terms of playability.

Aside from working out when best to make moves to avoid the aliens - and collecting the odd item (which gains you points though nothing else) - there's little else to keep you entertained.

Chris Wilkins

Astro Phobos is one of those game that is nice to pick up and have a quick go on - no jumping, no shooting, just simple exploration, dodge the alien infestation whilst saving hapless crew members along the way in your efforts to escape and rescue your mate Ash. Simples.


Control Keys: Q, A, O, P.
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston.
Graphics: Very simple but do the job.
Sound: Brilliant AY soundtrack on the 128K version.
General Rating: Not a bad little platformer though lacking depth to keep you coming back.

Paul DaviesChris Wilkins

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