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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Duncan MacDonald
Chris Bourne

Well, what can I say about Northstar?? (Why not say that it's a nutritional timesaver for today's busy 'Mum on the Go'? Bung it in the microwave for seventeen pico-seconds and hey presto - scrumlicious E336 shapes enveloped in lumpy brown spook-sauce. Yum). No, I'd never get away with that, I'm going to have to tell the truth.

Northstar (a space-station which is overrun by, gulp, aliens) is a right-left, left-right scrolling shoot 'em/avoid 'em/collect 'em up. Run, from left to right, through level one and you'll reach a lift. This will take you down to level two. Run, from left to right, through level two and you'll reach a lift This will take you down to level three. Run, from left to right, through level three and you'll... ("Okay, okay, I think we've grasped it!" - lots of astute YS readers). Anyhow, your ultimate goal is the 'Northstar Project Centre' where you have to 'reactivate the life support systems.' Crikey!

Nothing actually 'shoots' at you in this game, but any 'sprite-contact' is fatal and believe me, the aliens come at you hot and fast. The killing of certain aliens results in an ascending bubble (catch for extra points), while others result in ascending star-shapes. Catching these stars, lights up little icons at the bottom of the screen, but as they weren't mentioned in the instruction-sheet I was sent, I'm afraid their purpose eluded me, and I'm far too thick to work these things out on my own. Anyway, these 'spook-icons' aside, I'm afraid that Northstar isn't going to break any records in the originality stakes, so let's weight the price, gameplay and graphics.

Gameplay: Control response is good and the difficulty level is pitched correctly, ie pretty hard but by no means impossible.

Graphics: Nicely coloured backgrounds (inducing some attribute clashes), prettty good scrolling and nice sprite animation (especially some boingy 'spring things' on the first two levels).

Price: Crikey... Eight quid!!

Eeerm, let's put it this way: if Northstar was a three quid 'budget' game, it would have scored ten points. At eight quid it scores six. Make of that what you will (draw a graph if necessary), and buy according to taste. What more can I say??? (How about 'Yibble yibble'? Ed)

Slowish Exolon-style scroller that's long on style but short on originality. Not bad, though.