by Dominic Robinson, John Cumming, John M. Phillips, Stephen J. Crow, Steve Turner, Steve Weston
Hewson Consultants Ltd
Crash Issue 42, Jul 1987   page(s) 14,15

Producer: Hewson
Retail Price: £7.99
Author: Dominic Robinson

Flying a manoeuvrable fighter through 16 levels of horizontally-scrolling space environments, you encounter four types of enemy craft.

The small flying ships are easily destroyed, but ground installations are tougher and command ships are heavily armed. Giant mother ships appear at later levels; asteroids and flying debris also threatening your fighter.

But for protection you have a speed-up facility, pulse lasers, plasma bombs to destroy ground bases, homing missiles and seeker missiles.

Apart from a basic laser system, all weaponry is activated - or its power increased - by scooping floating fuel units into the craft.

An indicator shows what equipment will be activated when another unit of pink fuel, made available when alien ships are destroyed, is taken onboard. But each weapons system is only activated for a limited time...

The seeker missiles are the most powerful: when they're activated, you earn a thousand-point bonus and the cycle of weapon-acquisition begins again.

Destroying alien ships and bases earns you points, of course; bonus lives are given when you reach 10,000 points and with every further 20,000 points.


Control keys: definable; left, right, up, down and fire required
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: excellent
Graphics: good size and detail, lovely explosions, smooth scrolling
Sound: great upbeat title tune by Steve Turner (even on 48K) and plenty of arcade spot FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolls through 450

It seemed like ages since I had a really enjoyable alien-blasting session; Hewson came to the rescue with Zynaps. The graphics are great, the sound's fine, and the use of colour is excellent, though the concept - collecting add-ons for your ship - is hardly original. Zynaps is really enjoyable; it has reams of playability and stacks of addictivity, and I like it, okay?

If you resisted buying Nemesis, you'll be happy to hear Hewson have come up with the ultimate in Nemesis clones: Zynaps is one of the most attractive shoot-'em-ups. Colour is used to its full potential - but fortunately every character holds onto its own colour blocks. The action is fast and furious, with collision-detection very precise, and the baddies are very well animated in the greatest detail. Zynaps is total blast-'em-up fun - I wouldn't mind paying full price for a game as slick as this.

What starts out looking like a glorified shoot-'em-up almost instantly mutates into a satisfyingly frustrating and highly addictive action-packed game, with that 'just one more go' feeling that the old arcade Scramble generated. Add to that Dominic Robinson and Steve Crow's unique touch with graphics and a suitably blasting soundtrack, and you have some fun-filled hours. If you're bored with mindless blasting stay well clear; but healthy hands, clear eyes and steady minds will find with Zynaps that a classy shoot-'em-up can still be fresh and exciting.

Presentation: 90%
Graphics: 93%
Playability: 92%
Addictive Qualities: 91%
Overall: 91%

Summary: General Rating: A first rate shoot-'em-up with the magical ingredients for high addictivity.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 20, Aug 1987   page(s) 31


This is what we want - a good old fashioned shoot 'em up. No bulky instruction manuals to memorise, no clusters of keys to tie your fingers in knots. Just grab your fave heavy duty joystick and get ready to go!

Written by Dominic 'Uridium' Robinson, Zynaps isn't a million miles away from the arcade game, Nemesis, but unlike that particular conversion Zynaps is smooth and slick, just the way a good zapping game should be.

Anyone who frequents amusement arcades will recognise this format - a spacecraft scrolling across a landscape jammed with alien crafts who swoop and dart at you at every opportunity. You're in control of the spacecraft, which resembles something you'd find in a cornflakes box, but packs a pretty mean punch as you make your way through the waves of oncoming aliens.

My first attempts lasted for about ten seconds before I was deftly spattered all over the landscape, but once I'd started to get a few licks of my own in I found that destroying certain targets enabled me to pick up that much needed extra weaponry. I do have one criticism, though. Every time you lose a life you're plonked right back to the start, which can be very frustrating, especially when you're just getting the hang of things.

So, the plot isn't original - you're a lone fighter up against hordes of marauding aliens - but it's been nicely put together with clear, finely detailed graphics and smooth, fast animation.

It seems that the first generation of computer programs are making a bit of a comeback, what with the updated versions of Breakout and early shoot 'em up releases around. Perhaps software houses have finally realised that simple playability is as important as sophisticated programming and playability is something Zynaps has got lots of!

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Addictiveness: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

Summary: A good, wholesome shoot 'em up that'll keep you playing but won't knock you for six.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 64, Jul 1987   page(s) 44,45

Label: Hewson
Author: Dominic Robinson
Price: £7.75
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

Before you buy Zynaps you'd better invest in the toughest most responsive joystick you can find. 'Cause Zynaps is the best all-guns-blazing left-right-scrolling arcade game I've seen in ages.

Graphically you'll believe a Spectrum totally lacks attribute problems, you'll believe a Spectrum can shunt sixteen sprites and background around at 25 frames per second. And you'll believe a game can have sixteen varied and detailed levels with some of the largest sprites leaping around the screen.

Zynaps is by Dominic Robinson whose previous claim to fame is as converter of Uridium to the Spectrum, the game they said could not be converted.

Pretty good credentials. It even manages to incorporate a few original looking aliens.

Let's not spend too much time on the plot. For some reason, your battleship has a very good reason to zoom through assorted backgrounds from high-tech space city interiors through asteroid belts past craggy alien landscapes to peculiar floating bubbles and beyond.

For some reason you need to destroy anything that moves and a few things that don't and everybody is firing at you. For some reason when you destroy a wave of aliens or obliterate a particular alien gun tower you get to pick up an energy diamond. And for some reason the more energy diamonds you have the more fire power you build from useless single-shot laser to multi-pulsing photon blasts plus bouncing bombs and guided missiles.

Having failed to do anything particularly spectacular with Gunrunner, Hewson seems to have spent some considerable time on the gameplay of Zynaps.

My God, the game is difficult. That is, it took me zillions of goes before I even managed to escape from the first level. This was mainly because of the very unpleasant gun emplacements which lob blob bombs at you. So unpleasant are they that the little bombs even get lobbed at your from behind (blighters). If you do manage to take out a gun emplacement however you are guaranteed of an energy diamond Get on to those higher levels of firepower as quickly as possible...

There are sixteen levels but in any one play you only get a partly random (ie start levels are the same) selection of twelve. The graphics really are stunning, the kind of backgrounds you sometimes see in lesser games as static backgrounds but scrolling very smoothly. Colour have been arranged so that there is almost no evidence of colour clash whatsoever.

Even the sound is better than OK including a particularly stomach churning 'neeeeeekk!' when you bite the dust. Again.

The weapons system gets pretty nifty, although the start laser is pathetic and your ship is slow accumulation of energy lets you hurtle across the screen and loose guided missiles which bounce around the screen under your control taking out dozens of aliens at a time. It's a bit like a round boomerang. When you get to the seriously large alien motheTship you'll need it. It is, by the way, spectacularly wonderful and even animated.

That's about it really. This is the game your joystick was designed for.

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Overall: 10/10

Summary: Superb shoot-em-up with the fastest most detailed graphics anywhere. The game joysticks were designed for.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Issue 7, Apr 1988   page(s) 70

Spectrum, £7.95cs
Amstrad, £8.95cs, £14.95dk
C64 128, £8.95cs, £12.95dk

Sideways-scrolling blaster, where objects collected give you extra weapons Capsules discarded by the smitten aliens give you either extra points or the additional weapons you'll need to make progress - because Zynaps is pretty tough going. It's one of those games where it certainly does pay to learn your wave structures.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

C&VG (Computer & Video Games) Issue 70, Aug 1987   page(s) 36

MACHINES: Spectrum/CBM 64/Amstrad
PRICE: £7.95 (Spectrum), £8.95 (CBM/Amstrad)

Zynaps is the work of Dominic Robinson, the wizard behind the Spectrum conversion of Uridium - the game nobody thought would make it to the Speccy. The job he did was nothing short of brilliant.

And so to Zynaps. Well, it looks good, plays well but it won't break new grounds for originality.

What you've basically got is 450 screens of sideways scrolling shoot-'em-up set in deep space, packed with aliens, rockets, missiles and all the traditional ingredients. Ultimately, you've got to reach the alien stronghold.

You fly a Mark One Scorpion Attack Fighter, equipped with the ability to find and pick up additional weapons and scoop up fuel from wrecked craft.

The Scorpion's main drive units operate at four power levels ranging from low power for delicate control in tight spaces, to a maximum setting for high-speed combat in deep space.

Weapons available are Pulse lasers - good for heavy-duty alien blasting. These wing mounted lasers also have for power settings.

Plasma bombs - Two independent bomb throwers provide awesome destructive power against ground-based targets.

Homing missiles - These self-propelled missiles carry scaled-down planet-busting warheads and, once locked onto target, will destroy almost any large alien craft.

Seeker missiles - The ultimate in intelligence weaponry. Seeker missiles carry automatic target acquisition circuitry designed to lock onto any target they are able to destroy.

The fuel scoop - provides the power to activate the Scorpion's main systems.

I must admit I found it a little annoying on the first level to get a decent way into the game, then getting killed and then having to start again right back at the beginning, Frustrating. I understand, however, that this does not happen on all the levels.

Apart from that I can find little wrong with Zynaps. It's a nifty little game.

Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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