In the midst of multi-player zillion screen, ultra sophisticated, brain testing megaprograms it can be a relief to find a program like Stainless Steel, which for all its clever presentation and hard edged sprites really only requires you to blast and blast and blast and keep out of the way.
There isn't too much to say about subtleties of gameplay or tactics in Stainless Steel. If you can keep firing and kill enough baddies in a short enough time - you'll survive. Until the next screen. You are Ricky Steel a teenage superhero burning up the desert in Nightwind, a combat vehicle which looks like a Maserati and drives like a dream. Your teenage task - to blast assorted android troops and win the day against Dr Vardos. He represents forces of darkness and general nastiness.
There are four zones and in each you must clear the way of enemy troops and battle your way up a screen which scrolls up/down the middle of the TV. Your movement is also indicated on a long range scanner which runs right/left across the bottom of the screen. This gives information on enemy presence and also gives you an idea, through their movement patterns, of what kinds of troops to expect.
The task is slightly different in each zone. In the first you simply have to reach your battle Maserati. Later zones have you driving at speed and flying. Worry not though, in all of them you get to blast almost everything into tiny pieces. Of course they will certainly reciprocate.
Aside from steering and blasting, there is a time limit on each zone and fuel levels to watch - you need to collect the occasional floating fuel pods which come hovering by.
The game is astoundingly difficult. It took me ages to master. Time and time again android helicopters hammered me to bits, despite enthusiastic use of my defensive shields. Take that as a recommendation if you're some sort of Mr Cool of the consuls. If you are an ordinary games gonzo you may get very irritated indeed, but that's a few steps away from addicted I guess.
Label: Mikro Gen Author: David Perry Price: £7.95 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: Various Reviewer: Graham Taylor
Good shoot 'em up. Not a major release but nicely presented and challenging to play.