An old Spectrum favourite has at long last been translated for the Commodore 64. This version of the classic Scramble arcade game has been converted, pepped up and let loose by its original publishers, Melbourne House.
Bearing in mind that there have been enough C64 Scramble clones to have filled a dozen caverns, you might wonder whether it was worth bringing one out this late. It certainly was.
For the uninitiated, games of the Scramble persuasion have you flying a fighter plane/spacecraft through caverns/tunnels trying to bomb/rocket assorted enemy fuel dumps/missiles. Delete as appropriate.
Penetrator follows this standard pattern with two notable exceptions. No longer do you have to obliterate the foe's fuel depots in order to replenish your own fuel reserves.
In Penetrator, you have an unlimited supply of whatever it is that keeps your craft airborne and the flames belching from the exhaust. The fuel dumps have been replaced with rotating radar towers but the deadly ground-to-air missiles are still there - in abundance.
The second innovation is that you can customise the supplied landscape and come up with your very own bespoke cavern complex, complete with newly placed radar bases and missiles. And, better still, your masterpiece can be saved to tape for subsequent games.
There are four sequential stages in Penetrator, each progressively tougher. If you're not the greatest player in the world, you can still get to see all the stages by selecting the training mode.
Graphics are well up to par - the scrolling is smooth, the animation crisp. The differing explosions of ground-based and airborne objects are particularly well done while the stirring music does a grand job of keeping the old adrenalin pumping.
All in all, a welcome revival of a classic.