Aha! Sussed it at last. Know why the megabrill programmers at Ultimate Play-The-Same never speak to anyone, let alone reveal their true identities? Its 'cos they're all dead. Have been for years. Only their brains have been kept warmed through in some cryogenic chambers left over from Alien 8 days.
Well, at least that might explain why Ultimate's Original Ideas Department seems to be regressing at a rate of flops. It doesn't stop 'em writing great games but when they say Cyberun is the greatest journey of all time, they mean it - right down memory lane at light speed. Yep, it's a rehash of Jet Pack!
You start off with a small spaceship and your aim in life is to bob around the clouds picking up new bits to bolt onto it. While being molested, of course, by all sorts of silly sprites - including one of those great Big-Trak toys, some refugees from Games Designer and a couple of flying V signs (don't give me ideas, chaps). By the book - Up, down, left, right and Fire - and all that.
But I'll eat my rubber keyboard if it ain't one of the best plays around, possibly the very pinnacle of its genre - you can fly right up into the stars, scrape along the planet surface and weave your way through endless underground caverns.
You need to hunt out the right gear for the job - at the start get thrusters for speed, boosters for vertical motion and the little blobby gun that shoots homing missiles. Or else forget it. And besides the vast range of equipment tying about, the aliens, however hackneyed, all have their own particular vices and virtues. Even the clouds are trouble - talk about acid rain! Which means a lot of play before you can even consider what you're actually s'posed to be looking for...
A classic pick-up-the-pieces-'n'-shoot-'em-up with brilliant graphics, super smooth play and all the strictly gratuitous violence you could ever wish for... sheer magic... raw arcade action at its best... a veritable tour-do-force... possibly even worth the wait... And when I've finished it, I'm going to rush out and get Pssst!
The first result of the U.S. Gold/Ultimate tie-up. Will this game be another Ultimate mould-breaker or just plain mouldy? The major problem which confronts you when you try to play an Ultimate game is that the goal is not spelt out in the whimsical instructions. You get the idea that pieces of your ship are scattered all over the place. The idea is to go round picking them up; then what? Generally just shoot everything in sight and a few vague hints about crystals, I suppose.
Controls are of the jet-pack variety - left, right and thrust; gravity takes care of the rest. You start with a fairly generous allowance of five lives, each of which is lost by being hit three times.
The graphics show an inhospitable alien landscape with clouds, meteorites, comets, caves and the whole place full of aliens in many shapes and sizes. It is all very atmospheric and pretty but scarcely the kind of thing to set the world on fire.
There is said to be a virtually insatiable market for shoot-'em-ups and, as they go, this is certainly superior to most. It is tough, addictive, fast and colourful, with pretty explosions. It is great fun putting the ship together and deciding which pieces you can attach in which order. It is the kind of game which will generate a cult following as people discover the built-in wrinkles in the system. Not the kind of game to launch a million imitations but a competent effort nonetheless.
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