Right then, no beating about the bush, Guardian is
an excellent version of Eugene Jarvis' classic arcade
game Defender. For those of you who haven't seen
Defender (Oh come on you must have seen it, everyone's
been to the little arcade at Southend. You know, the
one next to the gift shop that sells those funny shaped
bars of soap and the cute battery powered puppies),
I will explain. You play the goody and the idea is to
save the innocent people from the baddies. The baddies'
aim is to capture and destroy all the humanoids on the
planet surface. Each humanoid captured boosts the aliens'
sum energy and with all the humanoids in their possession
the enemy is strong enough to destroy the planet and
concentrate on attacking you.
vehicle of vendetta is a starship -- and a versatile
beast it is too, as it is capable of some quick manoeuvring
and very rapid gunfire. The ship is able to move up,
down, left and right by using thrust in the right direction.
The weapons system is quite comprehensive. First there
is the rapid fire laser cannon which destroys any aliens
in sight. Then there's the smart bomb which is lethal
and is only meant to be used in emergencies. A tap on
the relevant key results in all alien life currently
on screen vapourising instantly with a blaze that'd
bring a tear to the eye of any pyrotechnician. However,
you only have a limited supply of smart bombs, an extra
one being gained every ten thousand points along with
an extra life, so they must be used wisely. Finally,
hyperspace is another emergency-only piece of equipment
that transports you to another part of the planet, but
may well plonk the ship in the middle of an alien. Risky
a Guardian, your reason for living is to protect
the humanoids to the death and destroy the alien aggressors.
The aliens attack in waves and at the end of each wave
a bonus is awarded for every humanoid alive. At the
start of the game eight humanoids live on the planet,
but if all of them are kablammed by landers the end
of the world happens. Guardian challenges the
player by making the different aliens more frantic as
you progress so they fight harder and faster. Your ship
benefits from no such performance improvement so things
can get pretty tough.
are a number of different breeds in the alien troops
that scour the planet, each performing a special task.
Landers are the main attack force and their prime
task is to capture, airlift and destroy the humanoids.
Other baddies in the cast are mostly concerned with
hindering your attempt to protect the humanoids.
prolific are the Bombers -- these gleefully dispatch
stationary air bombs as they traverse the skyline. Pods
are seemingly harmless creatures but, as the name
implies, they carry a load -- in the form of a host
of Swarmers, which home in on the ship, continually
firing furiously. Nastiest of all are the Baiters,
which materialise in the vicinity if your efforts to
cleanse the world of all alien life forms take too long.
Moving at a truly furious pace, Baiters head straight
for your craft. Only a quick eye and a deft hand can
save you from death from a Baiters body blow.
are two different types of screen to keep track of the
mayhem. The largest is placed on the base of the display
and is the main scanner showing the planet ground and
your ship. While the ground scrolls left and right the
ship stays relatively steady. The scenery itself is
none too exciting -- it's a mountainous terrain represented
by zig-zag lines and is where the humanoids live and
from where the Landers snatch them. Landers wander along
the landscape until they find a humanoid and then swoop
to carry their pray to the top of the screen. Once at
the top, the energy liberated from the consumed humanoid
causes the Lander to turn into an extremely vicious
Mutant -- a nasty that fights and dies hard.
other scanner sits at the top of the screen and shows
all off-screen activity, such as the location of the
enemy and the humanoids. Use of the scanner to good
effect is an important part of the game, as it's possible
to see the landers picking up humanoids. If you're quick
enough in getting to the scene of the crime, the Lander
can be shot and the humanoid caught as it plummets groundwards.
Five hundred points get thrown your way for this piece
of trick flying.
all the humanoids are destroyed then the ground disintegrates
and every Lander mutates. This makes things very hard
indeed, but the humanoids are replaced every fifth sheet.
And despite being 'deleted', you can still obtain a
copy of Guardian, thanks to the special ZZAP!/Alligata
offer. See page 99.