Five electric pulses going under the wide-boy names of Mur, Nigel, Vince, Boris and Vince are locked behind prison doors in a five-level mazework of increasing complexity. A fellow Pulsator sets out in a rescue bid.
To find his friends our bulbous hero must navigate his way through a warren of angular pathways. Some are barred by numbered gates of six different types, which are opened and closed by passing over similarly-numbered activating sensors.
The pathways are contained within 49 flick screens; the position of the Pulsator is given at the bottom right of the screen. Transporter blocks help our hero along, moving him to different areas of the maze.
But it's not just everyday 'pulsating. The mazeways contain lethal electrical pads and single direction passages, patrolled by opposing pulsators who become increasingly intelligent with each level.
A gate pulse, when touched, reverses the status of every gate on a level and then self-destructs to prevent Pulsator changing them back; killer pulses can take one of his six lives, and others drain power, though this can be replenished by collecting oil cans; others simply block passageways.
But our globular hero packs a pistol with which he can destroy his attackers. Some of them can temporarily disarm his weapon, though, and indestructible 'nutters' retaliate viciously if he fires on them. Killing enemies and collecting objects increases Pulsator's score.
Contact with a shield pulsator provides additional protection for 30 seconds - repelling attack and killing enemies if they touch it. A thief pulsator takes everything the hero carries.
To release the imprisoned pulses, the object of Pulsator, the eponymous electric adventurer must find keys that fit their initialled prison doors - and release one on each level before the next can be reached.
Control keys: Z/X left/right, K/M up/down, SPACE to fire
Joystick: Kempston. Interface 2
Use of colour: good variety, and clear
Graphics: simply-defined shapes, good ball movement
Sound: limited spot FX
Skill levels: one
Pulsator looks poor, certainly not the stuff that great games are made of. But it's a novel, very playable maze variant. The gates that give and take keys depending on whether you have one when you go through them are great. It can be very frustrating to get to a new part of the game only to find that you've got the correct key to proceed and rescue the pulses. The mazes are big enough to make mapping worthwhile; make a map as you go, because it's easy to forget where you are and where you're headed. £7.95 is a bit steep, but if you enjoy fiendish maze games then bear Pulsator in mind.
Well, Pulsator is not the most awe-inspiring game I've ever played. The graphics are hardly special, and there's not much variation in the gameplay. It's not actually flawed, but it's nothing new.
This one didn't do much for me, I' m afraid. It's not a bad game - the graphics are quite smooth, the little ball bounces round the screen in a very convincing way - but I can't help feeling that it's an attempted imitation of Paradroid. Still, there are some good ideas, such as door mechanisms activated by sensors arid besides which can help you. But Pulsator just didn't hold my Interest for very long.