Once upon a time a large fleet of very big spaceships came to Earth and got everyone wandering what the aliens within looked like. It turned out that the occupants were just like human beings and they promised all sorts of great things to benefit mankind. Then, one rainy day in July, a true blue American hero called Donovan sneaked into a spaceship to find out exactly what the aliens did in their spare time. Imagine how he felt when he saw what he thought was a beautiful young woman gobbling a live guinea pig, followed by a whole hamster! Gross to say the least. But before Donovan could do anything, he was discovered by a guard, and in the midst of the ensuing fight he accidentally ripped off the guard's face to reveal a lizard's head below! Oh dear, the alien visitors were lizards in disguise and they had come to Earth to eat lots of humans and steal all the water.
A resistance was formed and they quickly drew up a plan to destroy the evil invaders. Donovan was smuggled aboard the visitor's mothership armed only with a laser gun and a stolen Comniputer. His task was simple: plant five bombs at key points around the ship and detonate them to blow both craft and occupants to kingdom come. All well and good, but if he doesn't escape in time . .
You take control of Donovan just after he's boarded the ship. There are five different sections to the ship and each has many levels. The aliens have no imagination when it comes to interior design, so the various levels look rather similar and it's all too easy to get lost. Thankfully, only two levels of the ship are shown on screen at one time. Donovan can move either left or right along a corridor and the screen scrolls with him as he moves. Green mat transporters line the floors and are used to move up or down a level. By standing on a mat and pulling down on the joystick, Donovan dissolves and reforms on the level above or below.
The mission starts in the landing bay and instantly presents a problem - both exits are impassable due to the presence of electric barriers. This in where the Comniputer comes in useful. It is displayed at the bottom of the screen and pulling down on the joystick brings it into action. There are twelve functions available and each is displayed as an icon. The problem is that all of the icons are in lizardspiel, so it's up to you to decide which icon does what. One of the icons activates a code-breaking sequence and this is used to turn off the barriers A six character code, consisting of a jumble of lizard letters, appears in a window in the bottom left hand comer of the screen. By using a set of lizard letter icons the characters have to be shuffled until they ore all the same. When they match, the electric barriers disappear, allowing you to run into the corridor. The Comniputer can also be used to find out your current location and the locations of the key points.
On the walls of some of the levels are charge terminals for recharging your laser gun. By standing in front of a terminal and pulling down on the joystick the gun recharges. A red bar at the bottom of the screen indicates how much charge is in the gun.
As strange as it may seem there are no lizards roaming the ship, but they have left behind four different types of droid: maintenance, cleaner, surveillance and security. If Donovan touches any of them it strains his heart, and if he spends too long in their presence he dies of a heart attack. Although Donovan is armed, he can only shoot at shoulder height and is therefore defenceless against maintenance and surveillance droids, since they trundle out of reach along the floor or ceiling. Security and cleaner droids travel at head height though, and can be blasted with ease.
The other method of destroying the robots is to find and assemble the formula for Red Dust. The parts of the formula are found in the various laboratories dotted around the ship, but if the parts are found and the dust is made and dissipated, then lots of visitors get killed and the robot pursuit is slowed down. When Donovan has planted and primed all the bombs, he can make his way back to the landing bay and escape before everything goes up in smoke.
At first glimpse V looks really impressive, with the interior of the ship drawn quite nicely. However, once you start moving about it becomes apparent that the ship is all the same with no variation in the graphics at all. The sound has no variation either and throbs annoyingly throughout the game. The instructions are appalling and tell you nothing about the game, making it very difficult to get into. I suppose V will sell well purely on the strength of the telly series, but as games go it's well below par.
I didn't like the film. I didn't like the TV series, I'm happily indifferent to the books having not read any of them and I hate the computer game. Yes, it's V we're talking about and I'm afraid it didn't appeal to me in the slightest. The graphics are fairly pleasant, but after a bit of roaming around it becomes obvious that they are as varied as the Sahara desert. The game itself in look, feel and play, seems to be an attempt at a poor man's Impossible Mission. Is it coincidence that V authors, Softstone, also wrote the Spectrum and Amstrad Impossible Mission conversions? Overall a disappointing game that I could never recommend to anyone, even if they were manic V groupies.
Unimaginative title screen and instructions that tell you little about how to play the game, but reasonably presented on screen.
Backgrounds are quite good, but not varied enough and the sprites are OK.
No music and an annoying drone throughout the game that can't be turned off.
It's very difficult to get into and the instructions don't help.
The task set is very tough and it will take ages to complete, that is if you want to keep playing it.
Value For Money 36%
There are more interesting things to waste your money on.
Very dull and very disappointing.