Commodore User1st September 1986
Published in Commodore User #36
The plot goes something like this. An unmanned space-going warship has malfunctioned and is threatening to destroy Venus (so, what the heck?). Your mission (should you choose to accept it), is to board the ship (the Arachnid) and shut down each of the fourteen decks thus disabling it so that repairs can be carried out.
Before you can shut down a deck, you must clear that deck of the droids that roam around taking pot-shots at you. It takes four or five good hits to knock out a droid. At any point you can access a computer terminal to establish your position within the ship, and recharge your energy supply.
Once a deck is droidless, you must enter the correct five bit code (either noughts or ones). You can make as many attempts as you like (each attempt uses valuable energy), but after five unsuccessful tries, the code is reset. To help you guess the correct code, after each try you're told how many bits are correctly set.
Replenishing your energy reserves represents a similar problem. Each deck has a store of six energy packs, but to get them you will need to drop them down through a series of rotating screens. A small misjudgement will result in the loss of that energy pack, and you only get six per deck (a six-pack?)
The screen shows part of one level, split into upper and lower parts, escalators provide access to both areas. The blue lifts will take you up or down to other levels, and the teleports will zap you through to another deck (handy when you're in a tight spot). To access one of the many computer terminals, you just turn to face it, and a menu of icons replaces your view of the deck.
The action can be fast and furious or cool and calculated, the choice is yours! No music here, just the continual drone of the ship's life support system and the occasional laser crack.
Don't let that put you off though, Droids is a highly playable game with plenty of mental challenges as well as arcade action.