Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Shaun Hollingworth, Peter Harrap
OK, try to remain calm when I tell you this.
There's a great big asteroid heading towards Earth, it's almost here and if it hits there'll never be another series of EastEnders.
But there's no need to panic. If Albert Eyestrain, the famous scientific misspelling, can be found we're in with a chance. But this may be easier said than done, for Albert's warnings of the impending asteroid were ignored many years ago and now he's taken himself off to the desert in a fit of pique.
Five explorers gather together to formulate a plan. Only one of them can go to locate the lost scientist, but who shall it be? Should it be Fortisque-Smithe, Herr Krusche, Wu Pong, Big John Caine or Henri Beaucoup? Each has different strengths and weaknesses befitting their different characters and nationalities.
After one of these fine upstanding men has been chosen, he is dropped into the ruggedness of a mountainous chain. Now he must set about the task of finding the missing genius in the surrounding wilderness riddled with underground caverns.
The terrain is filled with puzzles that can befuddle the brain of any explorer. But helpful items are scattered about the horizontally-scrolling screens. These accessories include a vacuum cleaner, which on certain screens allows you to fly up into the clouds; a flute to charm the scales off certain types of reptiles; large bellows; and political manifestoes (full of hot air - literally).
When these are gathered, they appear in an acquisition box at the bottom of the screen - and if they're not wanted immediately they can be transferred to the heads of an accompanying team of native bearers.
Sometimes the explorer himself will suggest items that are needed to progress, but be warned - half the time he's mistaken.
And there are many traps for the unwary explorer. He can easily fall foul of a venomous rock snake.
Even if the missing scientist is discovered he must still be persuaded to help save the world. If he accepts this awesome challenge, all the equipment he needs - a large red disk, an antenna, a battery and an atomic pile - must be found. When all this has been collected the prof can construct his Positronic Asteroid Deflector.
But before he can do anything else he must have a cup of piping hot tea...
With the Deflector finally complete, our intrepid hero uses it as a giant pinball machine. With a flip the asteroid can be flicked away from Earth and out into empty space, keeping the world safe and free for decent arcade adventures.
Joysticks: Kempston, Sinclair
Graphics: monochrome, but very detailed drawing and animation
Sound: superb 128 tune by Ben Daglish throughout game
Options: choose to play any one of six characters
It's ages since we've seen a platform game as basic as this. Terramex could be quite good - Ben Daglish's continuous tune is excellent, making the best of the 128's sound chip - but despite cute and excellently-coloured graphics there's little to enjoy in Terramex. And it suffers from chronic Jet Set Willy syndrome: losing life in some places results in multiple deaths, which is both annoying and, I think, the result of dubious screen design. Terramex might be worth a couple of quid for the tune and graphics, but not much more.
There's plenty to do in Terramex and the hazards encountered are detailed and well-positioned. It's fun, too - I just love bouncing over things and flying around on vacuum cleaners and hot-air balloons. Terramex is a welcome alternative to the usual dull arcade adventure.
Certainly a case of warped humour here: using a party manifesto's hot air to inflate an air balloon?! Terramex has so many sweet touches it's unbelievable. And there's so much attention to fine detail, yet no clutter. A contorted mind won't go amiss in playing Terramex, so be prepared for some hard working-out.
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