Commodore User1st September 1987
Published in Commodore User #48
Last month I had the misfortune to mess with Hewson's Exolon, an amazingly difficult and tedious hot, skip and zap platform shoot-'em-up. Now, hot on its heels comes Deliverance, from The Power House, a game that's superficially similar, almost as difficult, and which has opened up all my blisters.
Like Exolon, this game dispenses with any attempts at a plot. Instead, we're harangued by some hysterical gibberish on the back cover, which for reasons that are obscure is somehow intended to motivate you into buying it:
"Lean, hungry, desperate [sic] Bastoids charged with the Maxim of Rascal. No mattock for you matoid - you fool or half genius wally-wally..."
Well, that's quite enough of that. But don't be put off by this cretinous claptrap or even by the cover illustration which sets new standards in total irrelevance. No, just go ahead and buy it, throw away the inlay, and get stuck in.
Deliverance is played out against a horizontally-scrolling landscape with walls and ledges picked out with shadows against a background of smouldering volcanoes. Across the obstacle course moves your chunky little space-person. The first thing you notice is that the scenery scrolls constantly, whether you're moving or not, and if you stand around gawping then the left-hand side of the screen will crush you against the nearest wall.
So this is one of those games that you play by the seat of your pants, always moving, always keeping one step ahead of the scenery, but ensuring that you don't move so far that you can't see what's ahead.
Start by picking up some fire-power by walking past the bobbing raygun, and then scramble up the next wall and start leaping from platform jumping over landmines, looking out for pools of fire, and firing a hail of bullets at the approaching nasties.
You get five lines to a game, and build up a score by killing off the enemy, which range in value from one to 100-plus. There are six levels of around 30 screens apiece, and your progress through each level is charted by the radar panel below the screen.
That's about all there is to it, and it's quite enough to be getting on with. The whole thing is about as easy as hopping over hurdles on a fast-moving conveyor belt, but, just when you're giving up in despair, you manage to get just that little bit further, notching up a higher score, and you're hooked for another hour.
Which is what addiction is all about.
Deliverance is slick and competent, and programmer Andy Jarvis certainly knows his onions. The real icing on the cake [Onions and cake - Yuk! Ed], however, is the two player option, where spaceman Jim is joined by robot Bob for some simultaneous competitive action. That, and the ludicrously cheap £1.99 price-tag, puts it way ahead of rivals like Exolon.
Power House are slowly but surely emerging as a force to be reckoned with. Note: This is their fourth rave review in CU.