Sinclair User

Zone Trooper

Author: Jim Douglas
Publisher: Gamebusters
Machine: Spectrum 48K/128K

Published in Sinclair User #84

Zone Trooper

This is the DANGER ZONE and YOU are the ZONE TROOPER... Well you can put me up a chimney if this doesn't ring a bell. Yessir, it's the sole-survivor scenario. Your spaceship has crash-landed on an alien planet. The entire crew is deep in computer-enhanced dreamland like so many frozen peas and you're the only one awake.

Since an eternity of sleep is a little unappealing, you decide that you must collect enough plasma pods in order to save your pals. Quite what the plasma pods do is a little unclear, as is the benefit of waking up thousands of your - probably hungover - mates to let them know the ship's up the Swanee and although they're awake, they're going to starve to death. Still, if it's plasma pods you're after, this would appear to be the place.

If there's one thing that annoys me more than any other in explory-mappy games it's unrealistic jetpac-gravity combinations. ZT for example, has an awful lot of obstacles to negotiate, and continually being drawn to the bottom of the screen is nothing short of bloody annoying when you're also trying to avoid homing aliens.

Zone Trooper

The aliens, too, are of an especially infuriating nature. They take a number of shots before showing any signs of injury and anticipate your flight path, draining energy like little chrome ticks. I'd rather have a fair fight - you shoot them, they die - they shoot you, you die.

However, on with the bananas. The graphics are colourful and riddled with attribute worries, although far from detailed.

In fact the graphic style (oh good Lord. - GT) is a little tricky to pin down. Neither monochromesque detail or colourful Atwellian, it's neo-cubist representationalist, I feel. (You've been reading Arena again Jim. - GT).

As a result, you certainly don't get much of a buzz from looking at the thing, so gameplay rushes in to save the day. Alas no. While there are a reasonable number of objects to pick up, you can evidently only carry one at a time, and since your supply of ammunition is treated as an object, you can't kill anything when in transit to anywhere else. I felt that deciding where objects should be used was a mite unclean and I wasted a stack of time drifting from one place to another only to discover that I had the wrong item with me. Still, that's the "fun" of this sort of game.

Some information can be gleaned from iNFONET, the computer system, but it failed miserably to offer any remedy for the intense apathy I felt during the whole affair.

Even being a budget game these days doesn't really excuse such ropey and unappealing game structure.

Label: Gamebusters Author: In-house Price: £1.99 Memory: 48K/128K Joystick: various Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Overall Summary

Competent though dull and unoriginal make-a-map romp. Poor.

Jim Douglas

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