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US Gold Ltd
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Nick Roberts, Mark Caswell
Chris Bourne

It's one of those storylines: lots of guns, blood and violence - just the way we all like them! You've broken through the enemy lines into a high security camp and stolen the enemy's secret weapon - the Rapier machine gun, developed by Middle Eastern terrorists. Getting in was easy, but you have to get out again and back to your base, crossing the Line Of Fire.

Your escape takes place in different vehicles across many treacherous terrains: a high-speed powerboat. a jeep. an aircraft and a helicopter must be manoeuvered through jungle, desert and white water rapids before you reach your destination. Of course you're able to blast away the enemies you encounter with your new toy, the Rapier machine gun. It has a normal bullet-firing mode plus a special grenade launcher to give the terrorists a taste of their own medicine.

All the action takes place over eight levels. Some scrolling away from you, some towards you and some from left to right across the screen. Immediate thoughts of Operation Thunderbolt spring to mind, but the variety in the enemies and movement soon dispels that.

Graphically Line Of Fire is good: the backgrounds and sprites are well drawn and the 3-D effect on some levels works well until a sprite comes up close and becomes all blocky. The levels that scroll horizontally let the game down. The scrolling is very jerky and the high detail scenery makes targets very difficult to see. Your energy soon gets depleted, but Red Cross parcels can be shot to increase it and you can collect bombs to fill up the grenade launcher.

The scrolling of the scenery is automatic - you can't choose a route, but just blast at everything you see! If you had control you could inch forward and take out the enemies as you go: as it is you end up missing most of them as they go crashing into you. Line Of Fire's action is 100% shoot-'em-up. I found the action slightly repetitive because there's no brainwork involved at all. But for those of you with an incredibly itchy trigger finger Line of Fire provides the thrills!

NICK ... 72%


'The Operation Wolf-style shoot-'em-up has been with us for a long while: some attempts have been very good with others less than impressive. Line Of Fire sadly falls nearer the latter description. The game is playable but the graphics are disappointing. The sprites are monochrome and spotting a terrorist is not an easy job. Scrolling is also a little on the jerky side, but the action is certainly hot and fast! Also, and this is a little odd, the super machine gun never runs out of bullets! You may think this is an advantage but I missed the excitement of running out of ammo and panicking to collect some more! Still, you do have to keep an eye out for collectable bombs because it's these, in the rocket launcher, that do the most damage: extra lives can be picked up too. For a conversion of a non-stop blasting coin-op Line of Fire is OK, but the arcade game relied on its stunning graphics to make it a hit - strip those away and the game you're left with is last fun but overall interest isn't very long-lasting.' MARK ... 68%

Non-stop blasting which sadl lacks lasting appeal.