Hey! What's that smell? Oh no! It's the power pack, it's glowing! Still, I've been playing Delta for eight hours now, no wonder it's hot.
Programmer Stavros Fasoulas has a taste for shoot-'em-ups and Delta goes much further than Sanxion.
Let's get the plot out of the way first. Several spaceships have gone missing in an unchartered part of the galaxy known as Delta. Being amazingly brave and downright foolhardy, you have volunteered to find out why. And so begins the game.
You control your fighter using the joystick and must destroy oncoming alien attack waves. Delta features 163 different attack waves, spread over 32 different stages.
As soon as the first attack wave appears, blast it. Yes, I know it sounds obvious, but do as you are told!
If you manage to destroy a whole wave, you will receive a credit. This credit is used for purchasing different weaponry for your ship. Of course, the more powerful the weapon, the higher the asking price. Once you have selected a weapon, it will be displayed at the bottom of the screen in its appropriate box.
After the first wave, some icons will come floating your way. The ones coloured blue are those which you can afford, grey ones require more money.
To choose an extra weapon, just select it as it floats past. But, colliding with a grey icon means death, so don't go for what you cannot afford!
These icons appear after a set number of attack waves, but it's a different number at every stage.
The extra weapons you can have consist of the following:
1. Extra Speed This icon only costs one credit and its function is quite obvious. You may buy up to three extra speeds, after that your engines will overload and you will revert back to normal speed.
2. Extra Bullets Normal firing is fine for blasting the front line attack waves, but real heavy ships require that special touch. You can buy as many of these as you like, keeping you ready for anything. The asking price is a mere two credits.
3. Multiple Fire For three credits you can defend your flank and sides with this handy gadget. If any fool Hsiffites (that's what the aliens are called) come messing, they're dead!
4. Fish Weapon Made on the planet Zlot, these lasers will deal with most aliens in a jiffy. A bargain at only four credits.
5. Protector Lacerate anything that comes into your immediate airspace with this little number. The Protector is a razor-sharp ball that whizzes around your ship, very deadly. To you, John, five credits.
6. Supa Shield This is the ultimate in space weaponry. Once fitted, you have complete command of any situation, because no alien can kill you. Simple. But this one will cost you a steep seven credits.
For those of you who are thinking that all they have to do is get a supa shield, forget it. None of the gadgets will last forever, and could run out at any moment. The weapons icon will flash as it starts to fade. And, just to make things a bit difficult, some waves will subtract from your credits rather than add to them!
Once you have played the game a few times, you will figure out which weapon is the best to use on certain waves, and so forth. But, don't buy a high price weapon just because you can, think about what you choose.
For instance, if you know there is a meteor shower ahead, grab a Fish laser, as it destroys rock quickly, but if you are heading for a space wheel, Multiple Firing might be best.
If you fly straight past the icons, you lose all credits, but sometimes you don't need anything.
As you fly from left to right across the screen, you cannot help noticing the fantastic graphics. Brilliant shading on your ship, lovely coloured aliens and ultra-smooth scrolling make this game graphically very hot indeed. Also look out for the animation on the alien worms. It's so slick.
The most impressive level is the one called "Sun of Dreams" or something like that. The screen consists of pools of fire which shoot out flames, killing anything within reach. Also look out for a level called "Leaving Death Rocks". I guarantee a big surprise.
While all this action is going on, you can be listening to the weird soundtrack, a Rob Hubbard classic. It's atmospheric electro music, which you may not like at first, but believe me it grows on you. It also helps you identify in your mind which attack wave is next.
Should you really hate the soundtrack, you can have sound effects instead, which are of the highest calibre.
And if you ever fight your way through to the end, an outstanding tune awaits you among other things.
Another impressive aspect of Delta's sound is its new loading system, Cyberload, which allows you to alter the loading tune and generally muck about with different bass, drums and lead instruments whilst the game is still loading.
Well, what more can I say? Brilliant graphics, outstanding animation and fantastic tunes. This game is the business. Definitely my top C64, no, top home computer shoot-'em-up.