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Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Rachael... and Me, Rachael. Or should that be I. Rachael, I'm not sure. (Where's your grammar? Ed) At home with me grampar, actually!

Back from me hols and what do they give me? A damn difficult, vertical scrolling shoot 'em up full of colour and bubbles and mostly balls. Can I resist the temptation to get my revenge with the odd, well chosen pun? (You'd better! Ed)

So, lets get this load of sphericals on the road. Evil Terry Ball has kidnapped Glow Ball, Eddy Ball. No Ball and the one they named after me, Lover Ball (Oh please, Ed). Its up to you, the eponymous and egotistical I, to go get 'em. You re sort of a rolling Rambo.

You start almost nekkid (Eeek!) but as you progress through the sixteen layers your Speccy will scream at you (or whimper, if you're still possessed of a wimpish rubbery model) 'Power Disc!'. This means it's time to stop shooting and pick up the aforementioned object, which will bestow great gifts upon you, such as turbo thrust or additional weapons.

It would all be fairly easy if not for the fact that you're a big ball (which reminds me, why do firemen have bigger balls than policemen? Because they sell more tickets) and the hazards are similarly scaled. It's rather too easy to bounce off the walls into a deadly doughnut or an electrified shelf.

Things are made worse at first by the fact that you can only fire vertically. This makes any nasty that drifts in from the side almost impossible to avoid. You just have to zoom on up at top speed because the enemy remains harmless for a split second after it appears.

I must confess I found this initial difficulty rather badly balanced, but things do perk up when you achieve your first new weapon, which is a side-ways firing laser. It's not plain sailing even then though because you'll lose it again when you lose your life.

So, is it the ultimate challenge or just frustrating? It's a big colourful game with some neat digitised sound but I'm not sure I'd rather be back on the sand than sitting in front of a Spectrum. Still, if I could move my micro down to the shore it might be a brilliant beach ball!