by Bob Pape, Mark A. Jones, Robert L. Hylands
Electric Dreams Software
Your Sinclair Issue 37, Jan 1989   page(s) 42

Reviewer: Duncan MacDonald

Well well well, it's time for another 'Ho ho ho, they're never going to be able to convert that onto the Spectrum.' Have you ever seen the original Arcade machine? It's something of a classic - firmly in the Defender mould but with massive colourful sprites and more action than you could shake a boomerang at. In fact it's hardly surprising that plans for downloading it onto the Speccy were received with, erm, mirth to say the very least. I must admit I myself thought something along the lines of "R-Type? Oh yeah?" Well, Spec-chums - let me tell you something: I've never been more wrong. Well, I have actually, like the time I was spouting forth 'knowledgably' at a dinner party about Evelyn Waugh while labouring under the serious misconception that he was a woman - but that's another (and far more embarassing story).

Anyway, R-Type on the Speccy. Here we go. Oh, hang on a minute, some of you won't have seen the coin-op so I'll bring you in gently. R-Type, in a nutshell, is a right to left scrolling blast 'em up with 'power-up' icons to collect and more deadly aliens than the planet Zoggo. If you think along the lines of Zynaps you'll be sort of on the right path. Anyway, having cleared that up let's have a good old gander at the game in question. Basically it's one where you shoot everything that moves - some things shoot back at you while others just get in the way and result in your death on contact. The scrolling background is a sort of cavern with ceiling and floor outcroppings in places, and these, needless to say, can also be crashed into. If you manage to get past the myriad nasties/outcroppings and whatever else then you'll eventually be confronted by the end of level meganasty - and believe me, in this game we're talking meganasties with a capital 'M', but luckily you can pick up icons en route which will increase your firepower.

Righto, a fairly familiar scenario then, but the programming and execution behind this game mean it has to be played to be believed. Firstly colour: I actually thought they might have to do this conversion in monochrome, but oh no me hearties, there's colour all right - loads of it with little or no colour clash. Secondly the graphics and sprites themselves move beautifully and some of them are big (big big big), such as the giant spinning 'wheel monster' type thingy near the end of level one. You actually have to get your ship inside it and shoot it in the eye to close its account. And I'm sure there are a lot of even bigger nasties waiting on further levels (I couldn't get past level one before writing this) because there are in the coin-op, and this looks like being a pretty faithful conversion. Thirdly, the weapons system is brilliant. Quick clicks on the fire-button produce standard bursts of laser fire, but should you require a bit more 'oomph' then hold the button down for a sec. You can see the nose of the ship collecting surrounding atoms of some description - then when you release the button again, a large fireball zooms out. Also the 'power up' icons give you some very impressive weapons - indeed a three-way laser, er, well - that's the only one I can describe actually (given the space), but believe me, some of them are brillo. Fourthly there's the incredible addictiveness. The learning curve is a toughy, but also very rewarding once you get each bit licked - thanks to the 'play on' option. Each time you lose your three lives you get plonked on a screen which allows you to continue from where you left off (if you want to - and you probably will). However, this play-on option does only work five times during each game, so you eventually have to start from scratch again, but it means you get a lot of practice at getting past the really difficult bits towards the end of the levels. .

I could go on adding to the list of brilliant things but really it all boils down to this: R- Type is a fiendishly addictive and difficult shoot em up with great graphics, loads of colour and the kind of knobs which make it scream "Hey, I'm absolutely playable - come and have another go!". In fact I think I will. Oh dear, I can't move for some reason. Yaaarrrghhh! I enjoyed playing R-Type so much that I've become paralysed from the spleen down, it's not fair, it's not fair - I want another go!!!!

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

Summary: An unmissable shoot 'em up. As addictive as Angel Delight and twice as butterscotchy. As faithful a conversion as one could hope for. It's a corker.

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 61, Jan 1991   page(s) 84

Who needs a torch for the dark when you're wearing pink and yellow day-glo flares? 'Ever Ready' RICH PELLEY shines some light down the...


The Hit Squad
Reviewer: Rich Pelley

This month's biggest barg of the lot just has to be R-Type. And blimey what a corker of a shoot-'em-up it is too. In fact I'd even go so far as to say (if I may) "The best blaster ever".

Life begins as a puny spaceship with a crap and rather titchy laser (a case of the longer you keep your finger on Fire the bigger it gets) scrolling left to right through loads of colourful caverns. A bit of blasting icon collecting later though and there'll be plenty of opportunities to add on (in this case, literally) the odd laser, gun, missile or two. As for the baddies? Tsk - hundreds of the things. Walking ones, flying ones, ones which just sit there and get in the way and lots of whopping great end-of-level nasties to boot. One of the later levels in the game consists entirely of this huge spaceship which you have to fly along and blow up a bit at a time.

Phew. And this really is brilliant stuff (multiload, of course, but we'll let it off just this once). Amazing graphics (with no clash), unbelievably addictive, extremely playable, eight varied levels, a classic of its kind, etc etc etc. And at a mere £2.99? Words fail me. Er, um... As I said. Words fail me.

Overall: 98%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 55, Jul 1990   page(s) 33,34,35,36,37


Where'd we all be without shoot-'em-ups, eh, Spec-chums? Well, we'd all have much smaller games collections, that's for sure! Join MATT BIELBY for an epic blast through nearly a decade of firepowered Spec-fun...

Blimey! The complete guide to shoot-'em-ups, eh? A bit of a mammoth task you might be thinking (and you'd be blooming right! It's taken me absolutely ages!). It's so blinking gigantic in fact that we've had to split it in two to save the whole ish from being packed to the gills with ancient shooty-shooty games and very little else!

So how's it all going to work? Well, this issue we spotlight those hundreds of games where you control a little spaceship, aeroplane or what have you, while next time round we'll be wibbling on for ages about those blasters where you command a man, creature or robot - things like Operation Wolf, Gryzor, Robocop (the list is endless, I'm sorry to say). Yes, I know it's a bit of an arbitrary way to divide the whole subject up in two, but it's the best I could come up.

Anyway, if you 're all ready, let's arm the missiles, oil the cannons, buckle our seatbelts and go kick some alien ass! (Or something.)


Well, at the risk of stating the obvious, it's a game where simple reaction times count for (almost) everything, and the actual shooting of various baddies constitutes the major part of the gameplay. It's just about the oldest form of computer game going (Space Invaders was pure shoot-'em-up, for instance), short of mad Victorian chappies crouching down inside big wooden cabinets and pretending to be chess machines. It's one of the most enduring forms too - hardly an issue of YS goes by when we don't review at least a couple of newies, and it's the rare arcade-style game (sports sims and puzzlers excepted) that doesn't include at least a small shoot-'em-up element in there somewhere as part of the gameplay.

But back to the case in hand. What we're talking about here are the pure shoot-'em-ups - games where the wiping out of waves of aliens or other baddies is everything (though let's be fair, the violence in most of these is very abstract and minimal). They easily divide into four major types, depending on how you view the action. And you can read all about them over the page.


Goodness knows - Space Invaders is the obvious answer, but most of the other early arcade games were shoot-'em-ups too - Defender, Asteroids, Galaxian and the rest. To find out what made it onto the Speccy first, well, we'll have to look back in the vaults and see what we come up with, shan't we?

Right, here we are with the very first issue of Your Spectrum (later to evolve into Your Sinclair), cover date January 1984. Flick to the review section and we have two Space invaders-type games, both from long-forgotten Anirog Software - Galactic Abductor and Missile Defence. The second issue (Feb 84. believe it or not) brings us such delights as Xark (Contrast Software), a Defender-type game and Alien Swoop (a Galaxians rip-off), while in issue three had Bug Byte's Cavern Fighter (a tunnel-based jobbie, like an early version of R-Type).

Hmm. Let's go back a bit further, shall we? All the early computer games mags were listings based (ie had lots of crap Basic games printed out line by line over oodles of pages, as if Program Pitstop had run rampant over the whole mag!) so we might find something in there. Believe it or not find something in there. Believe it or not, I have the very first issue of the very first computer games mag in the country sitting right here on my desk, cover-dated November 1981. There's only one Sinclair game in here (for a ZX80 or 81 - a Speccy forerunner - and taking up a whole 2K!). It's called City Bomb, and it's a sort of shoot-'em-up. Apparently you're in a plane at the top of the screen and have to bomb the city beneath you, flattening out a landing strip so you can put down safely. Thrilling stuff, eh? As for commercially available stuff, it's all lost a bit too far back in the mists of time to be sure. Still, shoot-'em-ups started emerging for the Speccy pretty soon after the machine came out, certainly by the end of '82. Throughout 83 people like Quicksilva and Bug Byte were churning out Space Invaders, Asteroids and Scramble clones advertised as 'being in 100% machine code and in colour' too, so perhaps it was one of those. Exciting stuff, eh?


In the great YS Guide To... tradition, for a one-off-only special occasion we've adapted our normal rating system to accommodate the shoot-'em-up theme. Here's how they work...

Alien-Death-Scum-From-Hell Factor
Are there oodles of inventive, nasty and extremely difficult-to-kill baddies all over the place (including the biggest, meanest muthas ever at the end of each level) or do you end up fighting a fleet of Trebor Mints?

Are there oodles and oodles of well-thought-out and spectacular weapons available to pick up and use, or do you have to make do with the same crap little peashooter throughout the game?

Copycat Factor
Unusually, the lower the score the better here. Basically, is this exactly the same as every other shoot-'em-up ever (in which case it'll get a high score for being chronically unoriginal) or does it have something innovative and special about it to set it apart from the crowd?

Visibility Factor
Does everything make a degree of sense in Speccyvision, or is it all a jumbled mass of pixels, with bullets, missiles and even little spaceships winking in and out of view willy-nilly?

Electric Dreams

Originally brought out for Christmas '88, R-Type is still probably the YS all-time shoot-'em-up champion. Certainly Duncan and David swear by it, and who am I to disagree? It's got everything really - bright, colourful and rather chunky graphics, pretty backdrops (but with the main play area left black for ease of vision) and playability coming out of its ears.

For those not familiar with it (where have you been?), it's a left-to-right horizontal scroller of a type we've seen millions of times before, but rarely (if ever) done this well. There's hardly any colour clash, some gorgeously designed graphics (something we have the coin-op to thank for) and it all moves beautifully - just check out the famous mechanical snakes on the first level for proof. Then there's the weapons system - some of the best add-ons in the business. Lots of little frog-like robots bounce along just waiting for a bit of encouragement to release oodles of extra weapons, including three-way lasers and a little remote droid that sorts of follows you around, mimicking your every move.

But best of all, the learning curve is pitched just right too, and the play-on option means you don't have to go straight back to the beginning again each time you die. A true classic and, what's more, the Speccy version is significantly harder to complete than the arcade machine ever was. It's an absolute corker!

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Alien-Death-Scum-From-Hell Factor: 92%
Shopability: 94%
Copycat Factor: 54%
Visibility Factor: 89%
Overall: 94%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 78, Jun 1992   page(s) 55


Summertime, summertime, summer, summer, summertime! Hurrah - summer is here! And what better way to celebrate the advent of sunny, carefree days than by locking yourself in your bedroom and playing a load of Speccy games? With the seemingly unstoppable spread of budget software, we here at YS thought it would be quite a wheeze to sort out the brass from the dross. So take your seats and upset your neighbour's popcorn as JON PILLAR whisks you with shameless bias through a roundup of the best £3.99ers around.


2. R-Type
Hit Squad/Issue 61
Reviewer: Jon Pillar

What can you say about this game that hasn't already been said? How about 'crimplene', or perhaps 'spatula'. Ahem. With its fast, full-colour and strikingly large graphics, R- Type is the game to show off your Speccy. It's blastin' to the max and squelchy beyond compare.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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