Amstrad Computer User


Publisher: Hewson Consultants
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #35


Fantastic. Brilliant. Out of this world. I could play this all night. Stunning. What do you mean, it doesn't need a prescription? Well, I suppose they've taxed it.

A shoot-'em-up along a planetscape has been done once or twice before, but not like this. This one had me going hammer-and-tongs for a whole afternoon. It's got everything an arcade junkie could want, targets, bombs, semi-auto weaponry, teleport, aliens, stunning colour graphics, simple controls and a few tricks which have you going "but that's impossible'. You still try to do it though.

The small suited figure (the figure, not the suit) brings to mind a Star Wars stormtrooper. But this time, it's you. Weaponry is simple, but effective. One semiauto rifle with 100 round mags, and a 10 shot grenade launcher. The rifle is good for most of the aliens, and the grenade launcher takes care of everything but lasers and double rocket launchers think). Ammo dumps are all over the place, but if you do run out, you is sunk anyways mate.


The little guy can go forwards, backwards, jump and bite dust. The rifle fires one shot at a time, and leaving the trigger down launches a grenade (it also wastes a bullet, winge winge). Grenades launch in a spectacular manner, dwarfed only by the explosions they cause, seemingly composed of glitter and malevolence. All this poetic exploding doesn't make up for the wee problem that while you're fi ring grenades, you're not shooting bullets.

The enemies, origin of whom is never fully explained, come in various nasty varieties. Blobs, grenades, jellyfish and so forth.

There's this pod of red blobs (a bit like a pod in defender, but more like a goldfish bowl full of gobstoppers) which disintegrates when you grenade it to release loads of the little beggars. You have to shoot it, 'cos its in the way. The worst nasty I can remember defeating is the double rocket launcher. You blast, run forward, blast, duck, blast and run forward until you can jump over it.


An easy but spectacular obstacle is this force field thing that comes all down the screen. To blow its fuse, just pump rounds into it, and Wham! What an explosion. You seem well padded enough to remain unscathed through it all. After blasting your way through the first few screens you find the pink pod. This magically refits your suit and weaponry to something awesome (and you don't lose it when you lose a life either). The suit is now bullet-(but not alien) proof and the rifle is now a doublebarrelled alien filth zapper. Very handy.

After a few more screenfuls of good 'ol mindless blasting you finish the level. Goodbye suit, sniff! In compensation, there is a bonus table, a bit like those things that you find on fruit machines (the ed is an addict, by the way). You know the sort of thing; a row of lights with writing like "Evens, double, triple, even more, zero" on them. And, just like fruit machines, guess which one it always lands on.

Still, to keep you occupied there are 125 levels. It really is possible to do them all (even level 87), but careful planning is required as you can't go backwards to get to that teleport that you desperately need to get up to the suit.


This game is only for hip froods. Go out. Buy it. Now.


I wondered what all the fuss was about until I played Exolon for a bit. I am delighted that Cliff has produced a poke for it. It may not make this issue though - look out for next month's mag.

Everything reeks of quality, the arc of the grenades, the flames from thrusters. Even the animation when your man dies. Whatever this chap programs next, I want to play it.


Good programmers like to work for good companies, so when Raffaele Cecco left MikroGen (RIP), where he coded the excellent Equinox, he went to Hewson. The Abingdon software house is the one with the best name among programmers.

I found the force field on sheet 35 a bit tough, but after I'd blasted it enough times it gave in. This has got a huge "just one more go" rating. The arcade equivalent must be something like Gryzor or Side Arms. Those machines have hardware sprites, so when Mr Cecco does everything in software and there is still no degradation in speed he must be a pretty nifty coder.


Now this is a game I can go for. What it hasn't got, I don't want ('cept maybe the grenades on fire 2). Even in defeat, the guy in the tin suit flops well. This is very addictive, and fights fans will tear the office over this tape.

Even without the instructions (they're always lost by the time the game gets as far as me), this were a good zap. Technique is important here, but if you think about it for too long, this thingy leaps out and grabs you. Methinks that this one, like Sorcery, Manic Miner, JSW etc. will run for ever.