Personal Compuer Games1st January 1985
Published in Personal Computer Games #14
At last - a really good 3D shoot-'em-up on the Spectrum. None of that nonsense about guiding twee little animated creatures around cutesy nightmares collecting pieces of china to put on your mantlepiece. No, this game is about surviving the evil Lurgons, a 'virulent robotic life-force' infecting the planet Endra. And there's only one way to do that - kill with skill.
You are in control of the Buggy, a space and ground attack vehicle armed with Photon lasers - guns controlled by the four direction keys - and Xion Phasers. which are powerful bombs.
You start your mission in the womb of the mother ship. This is a very pretty graphic sequence with all sorts of colourful gizmos twinkling and flashing. The Buggy's dashboard displays instruments and readings, some of which give you useful information.
After taking on some gas, you zoom into the wastes of space and head for the planet. On the ground you find yourself in a special trench, dug by highly-skilled Lurgon navvies. You move along it at impressive speed with oily smoothness.
First opponents to give you trouble are the Lurgons themselves. These green or yellow robots, very sharply defined, lurk at the sides of the corridor and shoot at you. You shoot them back - if you can swing your Buggy in time.
Still in this first sector you have to cope with Helibombs, which hover around and do nasty things, Orbital Saucers, which come whirling down the corridor like manic frisbees and Orbital Doomships, whose name is self-explanatory; if you don't hit them it's game-over time.
The game has eight sectors in all, with more evil problems added in each one. Not that it's easy to confront them: on each run you must earn a minimum number of Cycredits before you can progress to the next sector.
Once you think you've got enough of this currency you can return to the mother ship to stock up on energy. The trouble is that between you and the ship are the Mine jammers - they hang around and frighten mummy away. The number of jammers depends on the frequency figure displayed at the left of the Buggy's dashboard. If this is low - 1 to 3 - there aren't too many. If it's high, you could be a long time trying to get back.
On the higher levels of Buggy Blast, the player comes up against some really fearsome adversaries. Time Dimensional Spinners whirr around furiously - you've got to stick them with a Xion Phaser as they stop their noise.
Argon Magnets upset your Crystal Converters: you have to jump over them or die. Radiation Storms make it very difficult to see, while Reverse Time Zones do funny things with your temporal adjustment. Buggy Blast is not an easy game to do well on: it will take considerable practice to earn enough Cycredits to reach the higher levels.
Graphics throughout are excellent and the sound provides a good range of explosive noise. Control is keys only and can be a bit finger twisting, but it is definitely worth the trouble.
Despite the title, this is nothing to do with Centipede or Moon Buggy. It's a fast, mean shoot-'em-up, featuring some of the best 3D graphics yet seen on a Spectrum.
The way the corridor scrolls towards you is 100 per cent convincing - the relative smoothness and lack of flicker is astonishing.
What's more - the game's been very carefully presented, with slick, colourful sequences preceding each mission. A great program.
Wow, what a 3D shoot-'em-up. It really achieves the feel that Star Wars had in the arcades as you zoom down a trench zapping left, right and above.
Marvellous characters and explosions and suitable blasting noises. The docking sequence is a touch annoying, particularly in a heavily mined area, but the 3D sequence is fantastic.
Plenty of variety in the opposition to keep you on your toes through the sectors but it's tough on the fingers without a joystick option.
I like shoot-'em-ups, and with a number of different stages, this one has a pleasing amount of variety to it.
My only criticism is that you can't use a joystick with it. That, coupled with the rather awkward aiming system, meant you had to spend a long time practising before being anywhere near accurate enough to make satisfactory progress in the game.
Nevertheless, it is well worth persevering.