by Ben Daglish, Costa Panayi
Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd
Your Sinclair Issue 25, Jan 1988   page(s) 57

Reviewer: Marcus Berkmann

This is a splendid game. Like me you may have been wondering what Vortex - in the hellenic shape of programmer Costa Panayi - has been up to since Highway Encounter and all those rinky games, but a year after Revolution, here comes Deflektor. Written like all Costa's stuff, especially for the Spectrum, it's a startlingly original and difficult game which stands any comparison with the best of a very good year.

On 60 screens, each of a relentlessly vicious nature, the idea is to guide a laser beam from one terminal to another to complete a circuit. To do this, you need to use a number of mirrors (the small green squares) which deflect the beam to different parts of the grid. Before the receiver will accept the beam you must destroy all the little purple blobs, which you can do by training the laser on them. Watch out for the little purple stars though, as hitting them with the beam causes it to overload and so loses you the game. Other surfaces reflect the beam (but you can't control which way they do), some absorb it and yet others act as a sort of teleport, moving the beam to another part of the grid and allowing you on some screens to get at places that would otherwise be completely inaccessible. On all but the first three screens there are also laser bugs floating about changing the angle of the mirrors and generally getting in the way. Against all this, is a stiff time limit which means that if you're completely hopeless like me, you don't manage to finish a screen very often.

The version I saw had an editor program which allowed you to flip in between the screens whenever you found the going hard, but this won't be appearing in the game you'll get in the shops. It was otherwise complete, though, so I had a wonderful afternoon moving through the screens trying desperately to finish one (I did manage one in the end). Once you've worked out how to finish a screen, of course, it's un morceau de gateau the next time you try it. But before you have it taped, you'll be ripping your hair out, and possibly some of your internal organs to boot.

It's pleasant also, in these days of 16-bit and consoles and whatever else, to be able to praise a game that was designed expressly with the Speccy in mind, blocky graphics, colour clash and all. Deflektor's fast, colourful and grabs you by the danglies - get it now before it gets you!

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

Summary: That rarest of specimens - an original game that's also chronically addictive. An instant classic, methinks.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, Sep 1990   page(s) 64

Cripes! You'd better look sharpish 'cos here comes...


Yep, readers, looks like it's time once again for another one of those Complete Guide thingies. This issue, for your delight and delectation, we thought we'd take a peek at the more puzzley sort of games. Y'know - puzzle games - those sort of weird ones where you have to use a bit of the ol' grey matter to solve, erm, puzzles and things. And who better to clasp you by the hand and drag you through the world of the mind-boggling than YS's resident 'heart-throb' RICH PELLEY. Hurrah!


As usual, the normal rating system seems a bit crap in these circumstances, so here's a different one instead.

How complex and difficult to finish are the puzzles? Are they a complete bummer to complete, or could you do it with your little finger stuck, er, wherever you want to stick it?

Will it have you coming back for more (and more) or will a few games be enough? (Who knows?)

Is the game easy to get into, or do you have to spend ages looking up various keys, and working out what's going on all the time? (The lower the mark the better the gameplay in this case.)

Are the puzzles varied, or are they all the same? (Er, obvious, really.)

Okay, so I admit it - I'm crap at puzzle games. Come to think of it, I'm crap at most games really. And I'm not in a particularly good mood today either 'cos I've got a sneaky suspicion that this guide thingy is going to take absolutely ages to write. Even though Matt has reassured me "It won't take long" and Jonathan has informed me (much to my surprise) that "Honest, it'll really be a lot of fun to do" I'm a little dubious. Still, let's get on with it and see what happens, shall we?

For a start, I can see one big problem staring me in the face almost immediately. I mean, what exactly makes a puzzle game a puzzle game, eh? One man's puzzle game may another one's arcade adventure be or, um, something really. We've had countless arguments here in the office over it already (and for some reason I always seem to lose). For instance, Matt thought Arkanoid, Batty and the like might almost count, while Jonathan firmly disagreed. (In fact, if Jonathan had had his way, Tetris would be 'the only true puzzler ever written' and this would be the shortest Complete Guide on record!) Seeing as this is my feature though, and I'm writing it, everybody's going to have to agree with me!

And what is my definition? Well, it's fairly loose really. It's anything where you have to try to work out some sort of (perhaps totally abstract) mental problem against a time limit. Most great puzzle games are based on one very simple initial idea, which is then perhaps spiced up by slicking in lots of different ways that you can earn bonuses, die, get extra weapons or abilities (if it's a weapons sort of game) and so on. It's the simple initial idea that really counts though - if you haven't got that, you ain't got much really.

So what sort of puzzle games have we got here, then? Well, lots of different ones really - there are games where you must arrange blocks, make pictures, blow up balls, collect keys, and do masses more equally weird and wonderful puzzley things.

One good thing though is the scope - unlike in most areas of Speccy programming, with puzzle games you sometimes actually get a degree of originality. The games I've covered here are all good ones, and all still fairly easily available and - would you believe it? - no two of them are the same! (Well, no three of them at least.) And, erm, cripes, looks like I've run out of things to say. So, um, I'll stop waffling and get on with it, shall I?


Um, er, um. Now you re asking. Turning to the very first issue of Your Spectrum (ie Your Sinclair in disguise), I find one lurking in the first few pages. Traxx from Quicksilver is its name, and what seems to happen is that you move around this little grid thing collecting squares. Fun, eh? (Alright, I admit it. Of course there's no way that could be the first commercially available puzzle game, but it's the first I could come up with. Sorry and all that.) Anyway, on with the show.

NB Erm, actually, before we start, I'd just like to clear something up. You may notice that all the marks for the following games are quite high - there don't seem to be any crap ones. Now this isn't 'cos I'm a great puzzles fan or anything (in truth I hate them all) - it's just that unfortunately all the ones I've picked have been quite original and good. And keeping up my reviewer's credibility, I have to be fair. Hence the high marks.

Gremlin Graphics
Reviewer: Rich Pelley

Okay, let's have a little 'puzzle' of our own here - you've got to try and guess what this game is all about from the title. Any ideas? Yes, that's right! It's about 'reflecting' things, isn't it? But reflecting what, you may well be asking (or perhaps not). Well, actually, lasers is what, sunshine. And here's the plot - guide your laser beam around the screen (with the use of reflecting mirrors of course) so that it destroys all the spherical objects littered about the place, and eventually removes the wall that blocks the receiver for the laser. Once you've done that, y'see, you can guide your beam back to the receiver which will then mean you can be whipped (oo-blinkin'-er) onto the next level, where you can do it all over again (providing you haven't overloaded your laser or run out of time on the way. that is). Phew!

Loads more things happen as well, but I can't really be bothered to explain because a) there isn't room and b) I haven't actually got very far (seeing as I'm crap at it). But never mind - it's different and it's fun-fun-fun all the way (well, sort of anyway).


There we have it! As I predicted (and Matt and Jonathan got totally wrong) it took me absolutely blooming ages. And most of that time was spent arguing about what a puzzle game actually is and what qualifies and what doesn't (which is one reason why we don't have a giant list of all the ones ever made - we just couldn't agree what they were!).

Next month - Flight Sims. (Something everyone can agree on.) Hurrah!

Fiendishness: 82%
Lack Of Sleep Factor: 76%
Pull Your Hair Out Factor: 30%
Variation: 85%
Overall: 80%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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