Slap Fight

by Nick Bruty, Bob Wakelin
Imagine Software Ltd
Crash Issue 43, Aug 1987   page(s) 20

Producer: Imagine
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Probe Software

Passing over Orac in the Slapfighter, a multidirectional starcraft, you are attacked by aliens. Their weapons home in on the Slapfighter, so constant movement above the vertically scrolling surface of the planet is essential if you're not to become easy meat. (The spacecraft has four lives.)

For protection the fighter carries a forward-aiming blaster, and more weapons can be added by flying over the stars revealed when certain aliens are destroyed.

Other advantages - extra speed, side fire, bombs, homing missiles, a temporarily protective shield, and a wing unit that improves fire power but increases the craft's size and vulnerability - can also be picked up.

Destroying the aliens and their works earns points, as astute readers might have predicted.


Control keys: definable
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair, Cursor
Use of colour sparse
Graphics: reasonable, but the attacking missiles are nearly invisible
Sound: uninteresting spot FX
Skill levels: one
Screens: continuously scrolling landscape

For all its colour and effects the coin-op Slap Fight didn't excite me, but the Spectrum version seems better - though still nothing miraculous. Frustration can kill off enjoyment, because the bullets are difficult to detect (because of monochromatic graphics) and death may arrive at any moment. But if you can handle that, Slap Fight is addictive and should appeal to fans of the arcade game. And it has beautifully defined graphics with smooth scrolling, though the sound is weak - even on a 128K.

There's only one fault I could find with Slap Fight: you can't see the pesky bullets. The shading on the intricately detailed landscape is superb, and with the super-smooth scrolling makes a very attractive game. The playability is improved by extremely accurate collision-detection and the chance to control your ship at your own speed. The weapons are fun and the aliens move beautifully in excellent formations - Slap Fight is certainly one of this month's most addictive blast-up games.

Slap Fight is an extremely dubious shoot-'em-up. It looks like Probe Software used the same code for the scroll and the score line as they did for Xevious - but like that US Gold game, this has poor graphics. Slap Fight becomes frustrating because the enemy missiles are so difficult to see - it's very easy to die with no idea how it happened! Incidentally, if you choose SPACE as the fire key you can't choose another select key, which means every time you fire the computer selects the current option. Annoying. Slap Fight is a disappointment, but fans of the Spectrum Xevious conversion might find it reasonable.

Presentation: 66%
Graphics: 78%
Playability: 74%
Addictive Qualities: 70%
Overall: 72%

Summary: General Rating: Above average, standard shoot-'em-up.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Crash Issue 80, Sep 1990   page(s) 47

The Hit Squad
£2.99 re-release

Here's an old shoot-'em-up that uses the 'build up on your weaponry' method of play. Shoot the oncoming alien swarms and collect the bonus stars that appear after an enemy ship has been destroyed - these supply such glorious things as lasers, shields and a side shot!

Slap Fights real problem is too much detail in the background - intricate and the same colour as the fighter itself - which makes playing unenjoyable as you can't see what's going on. A bit of animation would have helped but each sprite stays exactly the same throughout.

Sounds are few and when you do hear something it isn't worth the wait, just a couple of puny effects when you fire or get shot and no tune on the title screen.

A very run of the mill shoot-'em-up: the gameplay has been copied so many times in other games you wonder why they keep producing them! Thumbs down.

Overall: 41%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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