Lazer Force is like all the upward scrolling shoot-'em-ups you've ever seen - and thought you'd never have to play again. But, bearing in mind that this is a cheapo, and I'm not the nasty type, I'll tell you it's not half bad. It even breaks a little new ground.
Anyway, you're the pilot of a cut-price delta-winged star fighter with awesome destruction power (not included on the standard model). Since the blurb writers haven't managed to come up with a story - it probably wasn't in the budget! - you're pretty miffed at merely having to negotiate 32 levels with four sections in each level. This is disappointing. Why couldn't we have saved the planet from massive implosive forces?
The first section of each level is the conventional upward scrolling bit. Simply blast as much as you can as you make your way up what looks like a tunnel. The slightly naff terrain varies from level to level but is always slightly naff. Level One is best, with its tunnel of fire from which huge tongues of flames lick out intermittently from the side, trying to turn your craft into a flame-grilled burger.
Some of the higher levels also feature this sideways pop-out nasty threat, in the shape of grabbing robot arms and what looks like a rickety wooden bridge shooting out from either side. None of these are a patch on the flames, though.
During this section, if you manage to make contact with a WOP again, the budget didn't allow these to be explained, but they're POW backwards [Well spotted! - Ed]. Your firepower increases from double to triple lazer fire. You'll know a WOP when you see one!
WOPs feature again in the second stage, similar to the first but with caterpillar-like lines wriggling their way down the screen towads you. Shoot the WOP out of four WOPs and you immediately teleport to a new level. Get zapped and you're despatched to the tedium of the third section.
Section three is one of those gentle docking stages where you must connect with the mothership to refuel. Joystick control is severely limited here, and so is interest value. They could have done without inflicting this on us.
The final stage is a winding corridor along which you must make as much progress as you can before the time runs out. Push the joystick forward to increase speed, and increase your chances of crashing. I reckon the programmers ran out of steam here (could be that tight budget again) because graphically this is readers' type-in stuff.
Then it's on to the next level and more of the same, until you lose all your six lives. There's nothing much else to say about Lazer Force. It's as fast and furious as it should be. The nasties are pretty nasty and there's a large enough selection of them. All the formation flying stuff is there too, and there's the usual smart bomb which involves you smashing your keyboard to bits in a frenzied attempt to get at the spacebar.
Lazer Force is definitely worth shelling out for just a few hours of reasonably competitive zapping. And then you can use the tape box to put under that duff table leg.