Personal Computer News

Android One

Author: David Guest
Publisher: Vortex
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Personal Computer News #107


Black Sabbath used to do a tune called Iron Man. Hum it to yourself while playing Android One - it's good for the concentration.

If you can't remember Iron Man, any other Black Sabbath song will do.

This is the old Spectrum game upgraded for the Amstrad. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to guide your android through 14 screens to a reactor which is on the point of exploding. Apart from the sands running through the hourglass there are brick walls to blast through, mazes to negotiate, and adversaries demanding your undivided attention.

Android One

Let it be confessed without further ado - this reviewer got no further than the ninth screen. What happens in the remaining five and thereafter is a mystery.

At the foot of the screen you can watch the time ticking away, your score mounting up, and the number of android lives dwindling rapidly from five to none.

You can play with a joystick or from the keyboard. The joystick is better for scuppering your highly mobile foes, but the keyboard makes for more accurate positioning.

Android One

There are four kinds of nasties to deal with. Like the android, they are beautifully drawn - the programmer was apparently inspired by a sea-food salad - and their movement is smooth and at times bewilderingly fast. They crop up in different combinations in the screens along the way; you lose a life by coming into contact with them, and you take them out with a weapon of limited range that spits death from the android's eyes.

The ingredients of the plot are simple, but the game works exceptionally well. The android is drawn to look perpetually panic-stricken and makes a strange scuttling noise on the move, but the squelch of a dying sprite is satisfying and very addictive.

It's possible to clock up a good score just by demolishing the brickwork that separates the screens, but that slows you down.

Only the bravest will reach the reactor - but the most patient will get to the top of the high-score table.

Android One is one of the best games of its type. There is the urgency of the stop-watch and the strategy needed to deal with the enemy; and it is all lovingly designed, with smooth movement and simple but appropriate sound effects. On top of that, it's fiendishly difficult in a way that is guaranteed to bring you back to it again and again.

David Guest

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