Quake Minus 1 has been a long time coming but is, believe me, well worth the wait. Mike 'Lords Of Midnight' Singleton has really pulled out the stops in what is his true true arcade game since 3 Deep Space (sorry to bring that up, Mike!).
But before you start telling all your mates that there's a new Singleton game out, spare a thought for Mike's trusty assistance Warren Lloulkes - who is the co-author of Quake.
Warren started working for Singleton over a year ago on his play-by-mail game - Starnet. Now he is credited as an equal partner in the production of Quake. OK Warren, we get the message, you didn't just make the tea.
Enough about the programmers, what about the game itself?
The location is an underwater power station on the Atlantic sea bed. A futuristic terrorist organisation called the Robot Liberation Front - sounds like a good cause to me - are about to sabotage the Titan complex. Earth's only chance is provided by a group of scientists who manage to re-establish communications with one of Titan's five control computers - the Hermes.
This is where you come into it. You must use the Hermes to knock out the other computers - Zeus, Poseidon, Vulcan and Ares.
It is a race against time as the Titan Complex draws its energy from the Earth's core and, if stability isn't restored, the core will blow, sending tidal waves crashing over Europe and North America.
Knocking out the other computers is no easy task. Each of them is protected by various defence systems plus the renegade droids. The Hermes is armed with all manner of icon-selectable weaponry. These are mines, torpedoes, missile pods, fireball guns, Ionic blasters, shock shields, plasma shields and ordinary lasers.
The screen is split in two. The top half shows the action as it happens with your computer scrolling left to right as well as 3D-style into the screen as you move forward. This portion of the screen also displays the star-shaped map of the complex with the positions of the other computers shown.
The bottom half of the screen shows the controls, weapon icon, damage control displays, clocks, weapon capabilities, energy level, fuel level and a 3D map of the complex with direction arrow keys superimposed.
There is a hell of a lot to this game. Every single icon and item on the screen serves a purpose. Everything in the control panel has to be looked at and used. There are no useless frills. But to the game's merit the multitude of features do not detract from the playability. If you like to learn as you go along, then Quake allows you to just pick up the joystick and start to play: travelling, blasting, and working it out as you go.
This is the most fun way to get into Quake - only referring to the pamphlet when you spot something you haven't seen before, or something happens you don't understand.
I have a feeling that this could be Beyond's most successful game this Xmas - even topping the much-hyped Superman and Nexus. Check it out - you won't be disappointed. Quake Minus 1 is available on Beyond's new Monolith label.