The Micro User


Author: Jon Revis
Publisher: Superior/Acornsoft
Machine: BBC B/B+/Master 128

Published in The Micro User 6.10

Going down the tubes

In an effort to supplement Earth's dwindling supplies of sulphur, a mining operation was established on Io, one of Jupiter's moons. However, recent volcanic activity has surrounded the robot-controlled mining platform with a sea of burning suplhur.

So desperate is Earth's need for the precious chemical that you have been sent to Io to collect every single drum and close down all four mining platforms.

Arcade/adventure games have become something of a trademark for Superior, with classics such as Ravenskull and the Repton series. The dimensions of Pipeline make the little green lizard look like a screen from Pacman.


If you were impressed when you first examined the map of Repton 3, prepare to be amazed by the Pipeline layout - each of the four levels is twice the size of a Repton scenario.

Ever conscious of the value for money offered by the budget software houses, Pipeline has been beefed up into a top notch package. Not only do you receive the best arcade/adventure game on the market, you also get a character designer, level designer and mission generator. Added to which, Superior is offering to market the best original game created with these utilities.

At first glance, Pipeline resembles Ravenskull - the action is viewed from above while a space-suited hero scuttles around a beautifully drawn, but deadly, maze.


As you appear at the start of level one it doesn't take long for you to realise that you have materialised inside a sealed compound. Ignoring this fact for the moment, you begin to collect sulphur drums.

By the time you have gathered all the available sulphur you will also have found a remote control unit and a set of blueprints. Though the remote control unit has little effect the blueprints teleport you to the inner reaches of the mining platform.

The place where you appear just happens to be a room with two exits - the first guarded by a control robot, the second blocked by a locked manhole cover. It is at this point that you are expected to discover the significance of the remote control unit - it moves manhole covers.


Examination of your surroundings reveals a distinct lack of sulphur drums and it is now time to enter the pipeline. This is a complex network of pipes through which the sulphur is normally pumped. Since the platform is no longer active, it can be used as a means of getting from A to B - unfortunately you have no idea where B is.

Summoning your courage, you step into the pipeline. Using multi-directional scrolling at breakneck speed, the display traces your passage through the twisted network. If you are lucky, the terminus will not consist of a bubbling sulphur pit or an oncoming fireball.

Flames can be of two types - stationary or mobile. The former are only a problem when you are racing to complete the level before the countdown expires. The latter follow pre-determined routes through their own sections of maze and are a major cause of premature death due to their high rate of travel. You can only see a small proportion of the maze, so are very vulnerable to charging fireballs.


There are 16 different objects to be found in the maze - including mallets, space burgers, spanners, magnets lasers, explosives, detonators and one control robot.

One word of warning to those who have a comprehensive selection of roms fitted - I found it necessary to disable each one before the program would run.

Pipeline is a masterpiece of brain-twisting entertainment. If Rubik ever turned his hand to computer programming he would produce something like this.

Jon Revis

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