Commodore User

Slap Fight
By Imagine
Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #46

Slap Fight

You have to hand it to Imagine. They do turn out a mean coin-op conversion. Slap Fight is the latest in a long line of middle ranking coin-ops from the Manchester house.

It didn't exactly set the world alight in the arcades - and is likely to be received as a so-so shoot-'em-up on the C64.

This is a shame really, as it does have certain points of merit.

Slap Fight

We have here a 'progressive' shoot-'em-up. I love coining game jargon. So what is a 'progressive' shoot-'em-up? I hear you ask. Simple really - it's a game like Delta, Nemesis or I Ball where you collect extra weapons or bits of your ship as you fly.

It's an excellent game idea. It works brilliantly in the three games I mentioned. The real question is, after Terra Cresta et al, do we want another full-priced rendering of shoot, fly and collect?

Slap Fight does not exactly offer the Best Storyline in an attempt to get a yes to that question. "You are the pilot of Slap Fighter and must destroy the evil alien swarms which confront you, wave after deadly wave on the ever hostile planet of Orac". Can't see Douglas Adams losing any sleep if he were to stumble across that line bit of stunning sci-fi plotline.

Slap Fight

The game scrolls vertically - your Slap Fighter edging up screen as the aliens fly down towards you.

In the later stages of the game, the screen is full of nasties and explosions. The whole thing is very colourful with impressive landscape backdrops. Good detail and shading on the buildings and terrain of Orac create a convincing setting for this space battle.

Constant movement is the key to success in Slap Fight. The nasties fire bullets at you - whizzing them out from all angles of the screen. Some of the meaner ones even chunk a bullet out at you from the rear of their ships after they have passed you. Got me every time, that did.

Slap Fight

The method of building the ship's weaponry is fairly neat. Certain of the aliens leave a star on screen after they have been destroyed. You can pick this up by flying into it - the computer registers a successful pick up with a bleep.

When a star is picked up, one of the icons at the foot of the screen will illuminate. You can use this weapon by pressing the Space bar. I didn't like having one hand off the joystick to use the weapon - it would've been better if the whole operation could've been carried out on-screen using just the joystick.

No complaints about the bonus weapons, though. A fair assortment of: speed - up to five times your starting speed and essential for flak-dodging, side fire, wing enlargements adding extra firepower; and bomb - which enables you to take out the enemy at a good distance in front of you. There are also shields, invisible lasers, and homing missiles.

Slap Fight has all the essential ingredients of a first class shoot-'em-up. Arcade pedigree, great graphics, and gradually increasing firepower. The only thing it lacks is a little bit of freshness - there is nothing new here. No little touches to distinguish it from the pack. A game needs to have that - especially when it is retracing already well-worn ground. Sorry Imagine - I can't recommend this at a tenner.

Eugene Lacey

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