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Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Steve Jarratt
Chris Bourne

Trigger fingers to the test, with Gremlin.

Promising entrants to the Corps of the Guardian Warriors must first pass a test which examines the disciplines needed as an everyday Guardian Warrior - basically lots of shouting, running around and shooting.

The test itself is therefore split into three sections. The main Combat Zone involves negotiating a horizontal corridor which is infested with all manner of alien ships, robots and gun emplacements. These fire upon and generally hassle the Corps cadet, who has only a limited energy supply and a mere three lives with which to complete the test.

Extra equipment can be collected by picking up the icons released on the destruction of specific alien constructions. The cadet can thus increase his manoeuvrability and firepower along the way.

Within each section there lie three "Fusion Pods", giving access to further sub-sections. Two Alien Zones must be entered and the alien creatures within destroyed. Only then can the Combat Zone be completed and the Flight Zone entered for the trip through to the next level.

The difficult and lacklustre gameplay tends to wear thin after only a few goes, and this potentially interesting shoot-em-up (shades of Northstar, Exolon and even R-Type) is relegated to the no-man's land of mediocre games. Technically sound on all versions, but missing the vital spark to separate it from the "also-playeds".

Reviewer: Steve Jarratt

Atari ST, £19.99dk, Imminent
Amiga, £19.99dk, Imminent
Spec, 128 £7.99cs. £12.99dk, Out Now
Amstrad, £9.99cs. £14.99dk, Out Now
C64/128, £9.99cs, £14.99dk, Imminent

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 100/100
1 hour: 95/100
1 day: 75/100
1 week: 20/100
1 month: 0/100
1 year: 0/100

Nice to look at, but frustrating to play.


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Reasonably clash-free and colourful, the Speccy Dark Fusion plays very similarly to the Amstrad, if a touch quicker. The 48K sound effects are pretty weak, but the title music is bearable.


Very smart visuals, but somewhat lacking the sound department. Difficult to get to grips with, and the immediate lack of progress is annoying.

Graphics: 7/10

Audio: 3/10

IQ Factor: 3/10

Fun Factor: 4/10

Ace Rating: 534/1000

Predicted Interest Curve

1 min: 100/100

1 hour: 95/100

1 day: 75/100

1 week: 20/100

1 month: 0/100

1 year: 0/100

Screenshot Text

Amstrad - Contact with a fusion pod sends the player into the tricky Alien Zone.