Red Max (Codemasters) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Red Max
By Codemasters
Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #20

Red Max | JR | RE | GP | Verdict

Red Max

Red Max puts the responsibility of saving mankind into your grubby little maulers. You see, following a devastating nuclear holocaust on Earth the survivors regrouped and began to rebuild civilization. Imagine their horror when they suddenly discovered that the sun was just about to go supernova - they'd survived a war, but were going to be wiped out by the good old friendly sun. Naturally they weren't going to give up without a fight and they set about finding a way of escaping the impending holocaust. A scientist worked out that the Moon could be colonised and a giant anti-gravity orb assembled on the dark side. This could be activated at the moment that the sun exploded to send the Moon spinning away from danger. The humans would then go into suspended animation for a couple of million years until the Moon's computers found a safe sun where it could park itself in orbit.

All went according to plan - until an alien race landed on the Moon, dropped a load of fission mines on its surface and sabotaged the power plants for good measure. To remedy the situation you must deactivate all twenty-seven mines, proceed down to the engineering level, turn on eight back-up cooling systems and shut down the four power plants, then go down to the hibernation complex and re-animate nine crew members so that the aliens can be destroyed. Whew! To help you in your task you have at your disposal a Red Max moon bike upon which you can whizz about at high speed.

The screen display is split into two sections, the upper part of the screen is the playing area while the lower part features four useful readouts - a speedometer, rev counter, fuel gauge and shield indicator. Fuel can be picked up during the game, but shields are irreplacable and depleted as the bike runs into things. If either fuel or shields run out, a life is lost.

The main playing screen gives an aerial view of the surrounding area with the Red Max bike placed in the middle. The bike can be made to accelerate by pressing the fire button (releasing the fire button applies the brakes) or turn left or right - as it does, the landscape scrolls. What you must do is make your way over the surface of the Moon and run over the flashing mines to deactivate them. Once you've done that, an alarm sounds telling you to make your way to the lift, which will take you down to the engineering level.

The mines have been put in the most inaccessible of places and to defuse all of them you must make your way through the Moon's automatic defence systems. These include laser fences, which can be turned off for a short period of time by running over the relevant switches, pulsing laser gates (which can't be turned off) and slime (which impedes steering and wrecks your tyres). All of these features deplete your shields, but there are other features like walls and buildings which totally destroy your bike if crashed into.

The other two levels can be completed in a similar fashion, although it gets increasingly more difficult to manoeuvre your bike around the maze of buildings and walls. Well, saving the day was never an easy task, now was it?


Arrggghhhh! It's The Last V8 again. The graphics and sound may have changed, but basically it's the same game. Just harder and more unplayable. The familiar twinkly screen glitch is still there and the annoying pause when you start the game. The sound effects are a complete and utter rip-off and sound exactly the same as those in Sanxion.

The graphics are great, but the game is totally awful. If you want to waste two quid on a boring and unplayable game, than go out and get this. If you're wiser with your money then spend it on something else.


The main problem with Red Max is its lack of consistency. The jolly ditty that plays on the title screen doesn't seem to fit the game, which deals with bomb disposal. To make matters worse, when you die by electrocution, or crashing, an even jollier tune plays - weird! The playing area is also incredibly small compared to the status section - which appears to have too much worthless info on it. If you found The Last V8 fun then give this a whirl, but it's not what I would consider to be an essential purchase.


Oh my god, The Last V8 has come back from the dead to haunt me - a binary zombie in the form of Red Max. It looks good, but plays incredibly badly. Just like the original, Red Max is far too frustrating to be worthwhile, even for two quid. If you reached nirvana with The Last V8, then you will probably get off on this.


Presentation 79%
Demo mode and good on-screen display.

Graphics 84%
Effective backdrops and a reasonable sprite.

Sound 67%
Jolly music and derivative spot effects which don't suit the game.

Hookability 44%
Some initial urge to explore...

Lastability 32%
...which soon wears off due to frustration and boredom.

Value For Money 42%
Cheap enough to interest fans of The Last V8.

Overall 36%
Not much of an improvement over its predecessor The Last V8.

Red Max | JR | RE | GP | Verdict