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There is a myth that good British software is becoming a dying breed. This does nothing to quell this rumour. Initial expectations are high from the title screen and backgrounds. Such feelings soon turn to revulsion when you see the superbly detailed landscape scroll body-pop style across the screen. Actually playing the game reveals a darker, and grimmer, side that doesn't exactly inspire you to play any further.



Coo! Great landscape, what's happening now? It's scrolling . . . UGH! The landscape's turned to jelly. Oh well. Don't be misled by screen shots, as this game is a pretty poor shoot-em-up and didn't turn one of my hairs. (And I'm supposed to be the shoot-em-up addict.) YAWN!!!




Welcome to Game of the Week! Each week there will be a new featured game on this page. The game may be good, average or diabolically bad, it really doesn't matter! Just look at the pics, read the text and enjoy the nostalgia! :-) Game of the Week! is open to contributions so if you would like to contribute a game article for this page you're more than welcome to! Every article we receive will be considered!
Ciphoid 9
1985 Monarch Software
Programmed by ?
Most text of the present article comes from the review published in the third issue of the British C64 magazine ZZAP!64 (July 1985).

Monarch Software, 9.95 cass, joystick or keys

O Flashly-looking, lousy-playing shoot-em-up

Land of Hope and Glory blasts out prior to loading the game and you wonder whether British software could be making a real comeback. Then you start playing the game and you know why the Empire was lost.

The scenario is the crusty old 'defend earth against the invading alien force'. Ho-hum. You are in control of a phaser turret on the moon and will face alternate waves of fighters and a mothership. There are three sectors or viewpoints of the moon's surface, with the earth on the far horizon.

The fighters come in at one of the sectors, and your view scrolls very jerkily to face them. You now control a cursor and have to blast the incoming craft. In the first wave there are 15 ships which can shoot back, depleting your 50 shields with each hit.

The beautiful moon landscape with the Earth
in the background merely flatters to deceive.

Your display gives you a readout of the sector, wave, ships left to shoot, energy and score. A panel also gives you messages as to your status. Once the energy falls too low, you cannot rapid-fire your laser, but only in double-shot bursts.

Once the first wave is destroyed, you jerk to another sector where a mothership (or is it a base-star from Battlestar Galactica?) has to be hit ten times in the centre. This ship fires nuclear shells which inflict heavy damage on your shields although they can be shot as well. On later waves the damage per shell increases so things get a lot harder.

The second fighter level has 25 ships and the number increases by five for each successive wave. When you do die, two nuclear shells zoom into the earth. This promptly disappears, except for a two-pixel line on the horizon suggesting that the bottom half is still there.

The fighters, mothership and explosions are nicely depicted but the sound effects are monotonous.



Graphically better?

The title screen and moon landscape with the earth in the background are done in tremendous high resolution, looking brilliant . . . until they start moving. The ridiculous jerky scroll ruins the impression entirely and the non-movement of the screen during the action is disappointing.

The moving sprites and the beautiful blue-green earth are well done, but the playing area looks and feels very small.

The graphics promised so much, but the scrolling and gameplay ruined the game completely. The idea is dated and most players won't stand for the mind-numbing blasting that it calls for. With a bit more imagination and work, this could have been a good game. The programmers seem to have got lost in the graphic detail and produced something that far from being an example of GREAT British software is a terrible disappointment.


63% Great title screen, understandably short instructions.
'Save Earth from the aliens' bore.
74% Brilliant until they start scrolling.
Two or three games should be enough for anyone.
24% Horrid blasting effects.
18% Oh dear. Sadly below the advertising claims.


Htmlized by Dimitris Kiminas (27 December 2001)

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