Commodore User

Terra Cognita

Author: Ferdy Hamilton
Publisher: Codemasters
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Commodore User #42

Terra Cognita

Whilst on a short stroll across your home planet of Krion, you notice the dismembered head of a warrior robot lying on the ground. You kick the head and it starts to speak, telling you how mankind destroyed its planet and how its people yearn for revenge.

You have to decide which action to take. Do you save the planet? No, you do what any straight-minded coward would do, you get out as fast as possible.

Make your way through one hundred screens of alien ships and deadly ground emplacements to the safety of the mother-ship flying a small craft armed only with a dingy laser.

Terra Cognita

This is another in the fast growing craze of vertically-scrolling shoot-'em-ups. The only difference with this one is that your biggest problem is on the ground. Blocks cover 50% of the screen and are deadly to the touch. These are thankfully not the only blocks on the ground, there are also fuel bases. Your fuel runs out in a matter of seconds, so you can't afford to miss any bases.

Some ground emplacements are there to help you. A bonus square is to be found, for nothing else but the pleasure of whipping your mate's high score. Two blocks are also there to speed up and slow you down, these only last for a matter of seconds. Another brief help is the 'Invincibility Square' which protects you against the enemies from the sky.

Terra Cognita's nasties are quite pathetic, they do nothing more than get in your way when you're trying to steer clear of a block. This is a great relief - if there were as deadly as the aliens in any other shoot-'em-up, it would be quite a chore accumulating 10 points. The ground blocks are quite a problem though for the measly three points they are worth.

Graphics are bright and excellently drawn. Sound, though, is almost worthy of a full price game. There's a great title tune although the effects are pretty nondescript.

Terra Cognita is the definition of value for money. This neat little shoot-'em-up could well prove to be an early frontrunner for the best cheapo of the year. At present the budget market is a piece of cake for the likes of Mastertronic and Firebird, but I really think that they have a serious rival in the form of Code Masters.

A release of this calibre to kick off the year can't be bad and I hope they can keep it up. Watch out World.

Ferdy Hamilton

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