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Melbourne House
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes

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Tony Dillon
Chris Bourne

Remember Barbarian ? No, not the hack and slash two player beat-'em up from Palace, the arcade adventure from Psygnosis, released by Melbourne House not so long ago. Obliterator is the official follow up and magically (opo-ee oo) transports you from the barbarian caverns of the predecessor to a huge alien space craft. You are now the last of the Obliterators, and the destruction of the ship and the safety of mankind lies in your hands.

Your general and basic aim is to destroy the ship and escape with your life. Well, it'd be a bit pointless escaping without it wouldn't it? To do that, you first have to find and remove four separate components. One to disable the plasma drive, one to disable the shields, one to disable the main weapons system and one to shut down the computers. The final piece you have to find is the shuttle activation datapack so that you can get the shuttle out of there. Of course, you have to find the shuttle.

In keeping with the original, Obliterator carries basically the same control method as Barbarian, left and right on the joystick make the character run in that particularly direction if he can. Up and down, however, causes a highlight to travel across a bar of icons at the bottom of the screen. Fire activates the currently selected icon. Pressing space puts you through to a sub menu which handles the basic manipulation of weapons (which one is currently activated) as well as giving you your score and energy level.

The icons, from left to right are; Walk left. I wonder what this one does. Move up. Lets your character move up in a lift if you are standing inside one. Move down. See move up. Walk right. Makes your character breakdance. (Really? - GT) Stop all movement. Makes your character transform into a green Volvo estate and then propose to the first alien he meets and promise undying love and (DILLON. THIS IS GETTING STUPID. STOP IT AT ONCF - AS) Move through door. Makes you character move through door if he's standing outside one. Jump. Makes him jump. Fire. Makes him shoot currently activated weapon. Roll. Makes turn do a forward roll if he's moving at the time you activate the icon. The final icon lets you pick up anything collectable.

A generous assortment of nasties line the glinting steel corridors of the ship. These range from harmless little drills that race along the floor and have to be jumped over, to large froglike things in battle armour that hover and fire at you. Roof mounted cannons line some of the ceilings and, boy, are they nasty.

Fighting back is fun. The angle you fire your gun back at is determined by the length of time you hold down the fire button, ranging from parallel to the ground through to the perpendicular. The more powerful the weapon you carry, the less shots it takes to blow away the nasties, which you need to take care of because the shots are very limited.

Graphics are pretty tab. Colour has been used really well. No, that's not colour clash, that's the green glow given off by your laser generated forcefield. Oh all right. It is colour clash. All the sprites are really nicely detailed and animated. In fact, the animation is better than the original Amiga version. That's one in the eye for 16 bit.

The sound is all right, but nothing really special. just spot effects really. The 128K spot effects are nicer than the 48K spot effects. however.

I like Obliterator more than I liked Barbarian. Another first rate 16 to 8-bit conversion by Ver House, and I look forward to seeing many more.

Label: Melbourne House
Author: Icon Design
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Tony Dillon

8-bit conv of 16-bit arcade adventure. It's ok as it goes.