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Go!
1987
Arcade: Action
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Alkatraz Protection System

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48,49
Mike Gerrard
Chris Bourne

Never has a game been better named than this one from the Dutch Ernieware software house. Free with every cassette they should give you a darkened room to go and lie down in after you've finished playing.

As well as keyboard control you can use Cursor, Protek, AGF, Kempston or Interface II type joysticks. There's a much needed PAUSE facility, giving you time to wipe your brow, and also an Abort Game option for those really trying moments when mere death is not enough. Step back to old Baghdad. Bung the player on a flying carpet and you've got Zaxxon with curly-toed slippers. But they should have left you in the present-day if you've got to believe there are military installations out in the desert as well.

But enough of this and on with the fray - and the first person to make jokes about a frayed carpet gets a scorpion up their kilt. The game is basically a right-to-left horizontal scroll-and-shoot-'em-up. Climb on your carpet and you can move up and down, left to right. The first hazards are pillars and buildings which have to be avoided.

It's great fun zipping along on your carpet, especially as you can fire at the other magic carpet-riders that come your way, as well as the snakes, scorpions, bats and dragons. The graphics aren't the greatest, but the speed of the gameplay more than makes up for that.

The reason why you want to blast other carpet-riders out of the skies, is that you're an undercover agent working secretly for the military and nothing will stop you getting across the desert to the military base at the far side where you've some important documents to deliver. Well, nothing apart from all the nasties and a few outlaws that are waiting in between each of the levels. At the end of one level you fly over various icons, such as money, flags, music notes, revolver and oil symbols. You've some of these to your credit to start with, but choose carefully which you add by flying over them as you'll have to do some trading with outlaws in between levels before you can pass onto the next stage. The outlaws get the best graphics in the game, and one bears a frightening resemblance to the Man Ed, which surprises no-one. Beneath each outlaw, his temper, reliability, intelligence and aggression levels are indicated.

This bit in between levels is called a sub-game, but it's really just some extra fun and the best bit is the blasting, of course, with many monsters requiring more than one shot to see them off. And you also have the option of single-fire (fast but forwards only) or multi-fire mode (any direction by firing and moving your joystick the right way.) There's even a magic-mode facility, which keeps you away from all harm for a few seconds but decreases your stamina by 10%. When your stamina's zero it's Game Over time, folks.

The Fast And The Furious really is one of the fastest-action games I've seen on the Spectrum, and as for the excitement of riding a magic carpet, you can't beat it!

Never was a better game named - you need to have the reactions of a cheetah to survive this zappy classic!

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