ZX Computing

Shockway Rider

Publisher: Faster Than Light
Machine: Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #37

There's nothing pedestrian about gang warfare on the 21st Century walkways

Shockway Rider

It's pleasing to know that nothing ever changes. Here we are, well into the 21st Century and the city's public transport system is still being terrorized by latter day Chelsea and Millwall fans! Of course, the mega-cities don't have tube trains any more, but rather a system of three walkways, moving at different speeds and split up into twelve sections as it circumnavigates the city.

You are a member of the notorious Shockway Riders - the most feared gang in the city. Athletic, aggressive and arrogant as your public relation officer lets everyone know with more than a touch of alliteration. Only one challenge remains. The ultimate one. To go 'Full Circle'. This involves travelling through all twelve zones, battling against rival gang members, the cops, the vigilantes and the much maligned but possibly most dangerous opponent of them all - the general public!

Naturally, you need some form of assistance en route, so it seems wise to help yourself from one of the many piles of bricks casually lying around. These appear to be magic bricks as your supply is unlimited within that district. The advantages of being armed with missiles are two-fold. First, you can take the opportunity to take a pot shot at the various targets that surround your route. Secondly, you can eliminate a fellow traveller/thug from a distance without having to resort to an ungentlemanly display of fisticuffs.

Shockway Rider

There are other hazards too. As you progress through the levels, barriers block one or more of the walkways. These must be dodged as they are inconveniently placed at head height and the ensuing decapitation is not a pretty sight. Fortunately, this is the 21st Century and your head will regenerate, but only five times!

You can leap about at will on the walkways but hanging back is not a particularly bright idea as you leave yourself open to all sorts of sneak attacks from off-screen where you can't see your adversary approaching. Anyone who is anyone will, of course, want to shun the slow moving lanes and this is reflected in the points awarded. There is also a bonus for completing a section quickly.

In order to get the feel of what's going on, there is the chance to practise any of the twelve sections before you start your journey. The game is ridiculously simple in concept but highly addictive to play. The black and white cartoon-style graphics work well and the gameplay is spot on. This is Faster Than Light's second major release after Lightforce (an old office favourite) and they are showing that they are rapidly becoming a force to be reckoned with.