Alien forces have invaded the eight sectors of the hyperspace causeway, planting bombs in their wake in an attempt to close this vital communications link. Your ship has been sent in to seek out the aliens, and blast them into oblivion.
The ship remains in the middle of the circular sector, covering the entire sector by rotating. Aliens and bombs spin around the sector walls, with a system of colour-codes distinguishing their different functions.
When shot, a purple block splits into two - one yellow, the other blue. These rotate around the sector in opposite directions, momentarily forming a green block as they cross. Shooting the green block delays the appearance of bombs in the sector, providing more time to deal with aliens already present. Shooting the blue or yellow blocks individually means that the remaining block must then be destroyed to facilitate the return of the original purple.
Light green blocks have to be hit three times, each blast causing them to change colour (first to cyan, then light blue) and alter direction. Successfully eliminating this block reduces the sector's damage by ten percent.
Flashing orange and brown blocks carry a bonus proportional to the time remaining on the clock, while flashing red, pink or white blocks are bombs which must be destroyed before they explode.
A grey block appears when a shot misses its target, and remains stationary on the sector wall - if hit again, it reflects the laser bolt back, destroying your ship. Bombs and brown bonus blocks flash and have the same catastrophic effect. Red or white circles appear on higher levels and spin rapidly around your ship, exploding unless shot.
Points are awarded according to the colour of the block destroyed, and time remaining to the end of the level (shown by a timer appearing on the display panel). Totals are stored in each of the eight sectors, and moving from screen to screen accumulates hit points. The points slowly count down when left, but stored points are added to the score whenever a sector is re-entered. Accumulating a hit points total of over 100 causes the level timer to count down rapidly, allowing faster entry to the next level.
It's sad, but true - Lazerwheel is a binary bummer. The concept is potentially outstanding, but it should have been expanded upon - at present, it considerably lacks variety and any addictive qualities.
There's only one screen of tedious action, and nothing to inspire more than a couple of plays. I can't understand why Mastertronic decided to release this for three quid on the MAD label, when they've released POD for a quid less.
Lazerwheel is a very simple and moderately entertaining idea, but it becomes very repetitive after only a few goes.
The main screen is neatly rendered and the movement of objects is smooth, but in the end it is plain and simply boring. A lower price might have been in order, especially when you consider the minimal variety.
Nicely presented, crisply designed and aurally pleasant - the only major problem with Lazerwheel is that the action is very simple and very dull.
Sitting in the middle of a circular screen shooting things that move around the outer rim is pretty tedious. There's hardly any variety between the levels, and mental rigor mortis sets in after a couple of goes.
Where's the action and excitement? Not here I'm afraid. Try POD or Void Runner.
Relatively useful on-screen information, and decent instructions.
Neat and functional - despite the lack of variety.
Bland soundtrack and average spot FX.
Immediately playable, but not very exciting.
Not much to return to after a few plays.
Value For Money 39%
Comparatively cheap, but hardly worth the effort.
Looks good, but it plays like a brick.