Panther (Mastertronic) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


By Entertainment USA
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #21

Panther | JR | RE | PS | Verdict


To prove just how hard they are (on a truly intergalactic scale) the Phlegms from planet Bo-Gee have decided to invade earth - and they've started with the city of Xenon. Well, they blew that place to bits, though luckily most of the population was evacuated first. Unluckily, not all of the population was evacuated, and still hiding in bunkers across the ravaged warscape there remain a few key military personnel. They need rescuing (rather badly really) and this is where Panther pops into view. The Panther is a new breed of deadly spacecraft that employs the cunning device of disguising itself as a huge Pilchard Tin in order to confuse the enemy.

Guess who you have to play in this scenario then. No, not the aliens. No, not the trapped military personnel. No, not the aliens' pet starcat.

Yes, you've guessed it - you have to play the hero. A man who needs guts, nerves of steel, and a willingness to die. Don't shirk now, get that uniform on, c'mon get into the Pilchard Tin. That's better.


Your ship is controlled by joystick across a 3D scrolling backdrop. Your height is controlled by up and down movement, and your lateral position by left and right. With these simple controls, it's possible to manoeuvre the Pilchard Tin fighter in a large number of groovy ways.

To defend yourself against the oncoming marauders you've got the Pilchard gun that emits deadly Pilchard rays in the Tuna frequency. It's really raunchy, one zap from this beauty amidst a crowd of oncoming saucers will oblierate them forever. Also, to help with alien encounters you've got a scanner that gives about three nanoseconds' warning of impending battle. Handy, eh?

The poor unfortunates who need your help sit in little boxes waving at you (prats, imagine waving at a time like this - the wallies don't *deserve* rescuing); the idea is to skillfully land your craft next to them. Seeing the welcoming Pilchard Tin before them, the military men run into the back of the craft. Once you've rescued as many men as possible, you have to get to the space port where they can be safely downloaded. Easy, eh?


Well, no, actually it's not as the alien resistance to your mightiness increases the further on you get. Never mind, no-one ever said shooting hyper-intelligent Phlegms from a Pilchard Tin was going to be easy.


This isn't a brilliant shoot-'em-up, but it does provide a couple of hours entertainment as you try to pick up and deliver all the survivors.

The game does have certain addictive qualities and I found myself coming back to it just to see if I could go a little bit further.


The graphics are a bit on the gaudy side and the sprites are somewhat unimaginative, but there's a decent tune to jolly you along.

If you're short of cash and after a shoot-'em-up then this is worth looking at.


This ain't half bad. Okay so you might have misgivings about the overall look of the game but it offers plenty of playability. Your flying tin-can is relatively simple to control once you've sorted out the strange perspective.

There's some incredibly funny touches in it, too, like, um - like if you leave one of the little chaps behind he gets jolly batey and jumps up and down in frustration - poor little soul! For only two quid, don't turn it down, it's worth the asking price, but no more.


Though not highly original, Panther is quite playable in a monotonous sort of way. It looks quite nice as well, and the whole shooting match jogs along quite nicely with boppy Dave Whittaker music.

I can't help thinking though that Panther would have been far more suited to Mastertronic's normal range rather than their new (and more pricey) Entertainment USA series. It's still worth a look though, and despite the extra quid I'm sure that quite a few of you will end up buying it.


Presentation 71%
Not flawed but not exceptional either.

Graphics 70%
Pleasant scrolling backdrops that really look quite nice. The sprites aren't bad either.

Sound 72%
The effects aren't up to much, though the tune is good and adds a lot to the game.

Hookability 80%
Instantly playable.

Lastability 69%
Boredom can quite easily creep into the proceedings after a fair bit of play, but it's fun until then.

Value For Money 80%
Two quid isn't asking too much for such a simple shoot and pick 'em up.

Overall 73%
Nothing to sing and dance about - though it's nothing to slag off either.

Panther | JR | RE | PS | Verdict