Commodore User


Deceptor

Author: Bill Scolding
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #47

Deceptor

Like American cars, American software has got to be bigger than everyone else's crammed full of K and coming in multi-disk, multi-load packages which set the Yanks back 40 bucks or more. The games might not be better than ours, but they sure as hell cost a lot more.

Deceptor is one of those games, and US Gold have made a desperate attempt to squeeze it onto a single side of a cassette. In doing so, they've made one teensy weensy little adjustment to normal gameplay: whenever you die, you don't just get sent back to the beginning to have another go, but you have to first *load the goddam thing all over again*! Brilliant, eh? Disk users don't get away lightly either, though for them the operation does take less time. On disk or cassette, it's a bummer.

You're a Deceptor, a multi-form robot thingy similar to Transformers, Gobots and all those other expensive transforming toys which come apart in your hands.

Deceptor

You can change from a ground craft on skis to a dart-shaped aircraft, and by metamorphosing from one to the other you navigate a scrolling landscape of unexciting walls, slopes and arches, pikcing up ammunition along the way. There are also some extremely pathetic and poorly-animated aliens which don't do very much except flicker. These are easily avoided.

On reaching the end of the corridor, you meet the Guardian of the Gate, which on level one, at least, is a fire-belching dragon. This is where you switch to your third, humanoid, form, and blast away at the flatulent beast until either it or you are dead.

So much for the game. Before you get into it, though, you're presented with an option screen which enables you to view the high score table, turn your controls, opt for a practice run or go straight (after several minutes' loading) into the game proper.

Deceptor

Turning the controls allows the responsiveness, acceleration and deceleration of your craft to be altered to suit yourself. This seems unnecessary as the default settings are perfectly adequate. The transformation speed can also be reset.

Practice play is pretty much the same as the real thing, without the flickering aliens, and gives you a chance to experiment with your joystick control. But even in practice mode, when you die you have to rewind the tape and load the program in again.

When you eventually get to the dragon, you use the joystick to aim your laser, and you'll discover that joystick control, which up until now has been remarkably responsive, is suddenly decidedly sticky. Even so, it isn't that difficult to zap the pixel abomination, although whenever I've succeeded in doing so the screen went blank, the tape started running, and then... nothing.

Spending hours in front of a comatose TV screen and a whirring tape recorder is not my idea of a good time, and the brief spurts of dubious action which have rewarded me are an insult.

Make the mistake of buying Deceptor and you will witness the sensational metamorphosis of a ten pound note into a turkey.

Bill Scolding

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