Nexor (Design Design) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By Design Design
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #31


The Andromedans (alien flavour of the month) have been tinkering with an awesome doomsday machine. Your interstellar DIY mission is to put it back together

They're at it again - it seems that you can't go near a computer game these days without being beseiged by hordes of aliens who are just falling over themselves to invade earth and sample the delights of Miami Vice, Stephen King novels and Chinese takeaways.

This time it's the Andromedans' turn to have a crack at us, but fortunately Our Boys have been eating their Shredded Wheat and have pushed the Andromedans back to their last stronghold in Orion. All it needed was the completion of the Nemesis weapon to knock out that last stronghold, but then the enemy launched a desperate attack on the Nexor complex where the weapon was being developed and only you have survived to keep Nemesis out of their hands. Scattered throughout the multi-levelled complex are two sets of five modules; only one set needs to be collected to complete the weapon (the others will be destroyed when the complex self-destructs), then if you can find the blueprints and repair the transporter beam you'll be able to keep the weapon out of enemy hands.

The Nexor complex might look a little familiar, since it's drawn in the style of two-coloured 3D graphics that have become more or less standard for arcade adventures ever since Knight Lore arrived to harry the nation's joysticks. All the usual paraphernalia is here - moving walkways, deadly spikey things, tables and blocks that have to be moved around to allow you to reach inaccessible exits, and an assortment of robot sprites who sneakily don't appear until the second time you pass through a room so that they can take you by surprise!

You control the figure of the head of security as he attempts to locate the Nemesis modules and repair the transporter beam. You're unarmed so the only way to avoid fatal collisions is by some smart movements using the usual back/forwards, left/right and jump controls. Modules are collected automatically as soon as you touch them, and as you collect each one you are told how long is left before the whole place self-destructs.

The presentation and graphics are well up to the sort of standard that people expect from Spectrum games these days, but I couldn't help thinking that Nexor lacked a bit in gameplay. In these sort of games, half the fun lies in the exploration and discovery of all those fiendish obstacles that lie between you and the objects you need to collect, and working out how to get past them. But in Nexor, much of the exploration simply isn't very interesting, and finding the modules just becomes a matter of wandering around for long enough. Many of the rooms are full of bombs and other features, yet present no other challenge than walking in and then straight out again because the path through the room is totally obvious.

There are a few rooms with some tricky puzzles in, but these are in the minority. Apart from the modules, you can only carry one object at a time, and most of these can only be used in the room where you found them (you can't carry them from room to room) so there's no element of judgement involved in deciding which objects to take with you or leave behind.

Although the programming of Nexor is well up to scratch, the design of the game is rather unimaginative. It's no use filling a room full of nicely drawn objects if none of them do anything.

Nexor has adopted the style of games like Knight Lore and Alien 8, but with little of the substance that made them so addictive.