Retail Price: £1.99
Author: The Radical Tubes
Chronos is imprisoned in another time dimension by the Mystical Dimension Weavers, beings he himself created. Six levels need to be completed before Chronos can be freed from his plight.
You pilot a laser-carrying space craft capable of moving up and down, and to the left and right through a maze of constructed space corridors. Many of these are blocked by laser barriers or other obstructions that must be cleared by blasting. As you progress alien craft, lethal orbs and rotating 'yin-yangs' fly through your space with increasing frequency. Contact with these, or any part of the space landscape loses you one of three lives. For each obstruction or attacker laser-smeared, points are awarded, with an extra life acquired at 10,000 points.
Occasionally, the letters B, O, N, U, S appear which, surprisingly enough, give bonus points should they be collected in the correct spelling order.
Control keys: Q/A up/down, O/P left/right, M to fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2, Cursor
Use of colour: Monochromatic playing area, using shading
Graphics: varied cityscapes, neatly defined, but juddery sprites
Sound: average 'effects' music
Skill levels: one
Screens: scrolling 'caves'
An odd little game this; well presented, it looks good, sounds fair, and other than the speed, which is a touch too slow for my liking, technically I can't really fault Chronos - but it lacks sadly in gameplay, and just isn't fun. I think Chronos helps to show that simple shoot 'em ups of this genre have gone about as far as they can go on the Spectrum.
Let's not beat around the bush, what we have here is simply a budget shoot 'em up. No frills, no adventure, just blasting away to your heart's content. There's little imagination graphically, but the shading makes a brave attempt to bring life. Although aliens suffer badly from the shakes, and the scrolling isn't super-smooth either, presentation is well up to scratch, with a good Design Design type front end and score table, and a strange bit of title sound (rather than music). If you're not tired of shoot 'em ups then this could be game for you. The aliens never run out, but neither does your fire power.
The proportional spacing and high score table immediately rang a Des-Des bell, and although it's no more than a polished Scramble, I enjoyed playing Chronos. The easiness of the first level is a bit of a let down, but it does act as a warm up. The graphics are quite good, with explosions a bit reminiscent of Dark Star, but the game itself is almost totally different, and for £1.99, it is good value.
This game comes complete with the standard epic tale about how the world came to be created and how Chronos became trapped by the Mystical Dimension Weavers. However, a nice touch is that Mastertronic doesn't take any of this rubbish too seriously - what have Mystical Dimension Weavers to do with you - all you'll be up to is firing your lasers at the enemy and getting a huge score.
So what have we got? Chronos is a variation on the Scramble theme of games. The screen is a right to left scrolling landscape and you have to shoot everything that moves and quite a few things that don't so that you can battle through to rescue Chronos. There are six separate screens that are made to vary in colour, and the shape and behavior of the Dimension Weavers alters as you progress through.
On the first screen they start off as little jet planes and spheres, then in the next wave they mutate into tumblin' dice. Very deep, very significant. Also, the letters of the word BONUS float by occasionally, and if you pick them up you get an increasing bonus score that starts at two hundred extra points and doubles until the S appears - this gets you an extra 3200 points!
Another nice touch is the use of the high score table to pass messages to you while you're playing. Don't quote me on this (mainly 'cos I forgot to make a note) but I'm sure the messages changed on further loadings.
I like this game - it's a no-nonsense shoot'em up given a touch of the ridiculous by the programmers.
Oh! Heaven! Finally someone in the software industry parodies the stupidity of the infernal storylines choc-full of long names and mystical, evil overlords.
The company in question is Mastertronic. and the game is Chronos, a very straightforward space shoot-out - largely redeemed by the fact that it isn't veiled in a naff storyline.
The program itself is a Scramble/Defender sort of affair which means (if you were fortunate enough not to be around in the dim and distant days of the clanky old arcades, and thus avoided these old-times) you fly a heavily armed space-ship over, behind and through enemy lines on a mission of death and destruction. You can't bomb anything in Chronos - it's all laserfire strafing runs at low level, crashing into the ground a lot and things like that.
Everything is two-colour, and your highly unimaginative ship moves around with acceptable speed, only flickering when it gets too close to the ground.
You can fire an apparently inexhaustible number of shots so the best tactic is to slowly move up and down the screen in a sort of wavy style, firing for all you're worth, making a sort of sine wave of bullets on the screen which the aliens find virtually impossible to penetrate.
On later levels, the aliens are more difficult. They fly in increasingly mad patterns, diving and looping and dodging nearly all of the laser bolts on the screen. It actually gets a little worrying after a while.
The landscapes over which you fly are a mixture of steel constructions and land masses, and there are a few - very predictable - dead ends which you are encouraged to follow.
When you waste an alien, it will explode in a manner very similar to the way the bombs go off in Amaurote (SU) 62) which isn't very impressive at all, but is - cliches! - better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.
Bonus points can be scored by collecting letters in each of the levels. The letters (B,O,N,U and S) can be seen drifting in little square things and you must fly at them. The later the letter the higher the score.
Chronos is one of those games that proves hugely entertaining for a few minutes before you remember that it's near-as-damn-it exactly the same as 50 percent of your software collection.
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
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