When I first heard that Tynesoft had released a new game for the BBC, memories of Vindaloo came flooding back. They describe Phantom as one of "the new breed of arcade games..." Looks like a version of Gauntlet, but I was wrong.
The cassette inlay depicts two players blasting a rather unpleasant looking, multi-limbed astral misfit.
The scenario is set inthe present with the player assuming the role of a professor of astro physics with more than a passing interest in psychic phenomenon.
The game presents a start screen very reminiscent of Future Shock and just as beautifully designed. Score, reactor level, heart rate in beats per minute and electro-cardiograph (ECG) displays are in a window at the bottom of the screen.
Press S to start and after a long drawl of nerve-shatteringly corny music we enter Ye Olde Inn viewed from above. To begin with, it all seems quiet and peaceful, but then we discover that the deceased customers are not too keen on strangers and as soon as you pop your head round the door they start descending like rampant bluebottles.
No problem, just whip out your new ion cannon and start blasting. Zap, the spooks start vanishing in little clouds of ectoplasm. Neat little gadget this, since the beam can knock out several of the little beggars in one shot.
There is a snag though, because if you like to shoot-'em up then you'd better think again. The backpack only has a limited amount of power andonce that's gone you'll have to wait until you find another isotope pack.
In Phantom, as in life you only get one chance. Each eye-to-eye contact with ghouls increases your heart rate. Being past his prime 100bpm is a little too much for the professors old ticker.
To make matters worse your heart rate doesn't settle down from one level to the next. While this is most inconvenient it does add to the fun, and doesn't let you relax for a minute.
The graphics are very good, the characters clear and the four colours of the Mode 5 display provide an excellent effect. Soundwise the game is reasonable, but not exciting.
There are only really two faults that I could find with Phantom. Firstly the spooks can hit you without you being able to shoot them, though this is not as bad as it sounds. And secondly the game is a bit slow to restart, which is annoying in such an addictive game.
When it comes to the final conflict and you've got rumbles in your attic or creepies in the cellar then - Who yer gonna call? - Tynesoft.