Personal Computer News8th December 1983
Published in Personal Computer News #040
Cross Them Out
One day we may be regaling our grandchildren with nostalgic tales of those marvellous games we played long ago on that museum-piece, the microcomputer. No doubt among our reminiscences one game will be recalled with warmth and affection - Missile Command. If you've never tried it, you might like to invest in Armageddon, an excellent version for the Spectrum by Ocean Software.
Six cities are under attack from nuclear tracers. Leaving a trail in their wake, these tracers roll down the screen, sometimes forking, towards the cities. By positioning a small cross-sight in the path of a tracer and firing, a missile will race unerringly toward the marker, detonating on impact. If the leading edge of a tracer is caught in the resulting explosion, the whole tracer is destroyed. You can have more than one missile in the air at once; there are 32 missiles available to you per wave of tracers.
A title page is displayed as the main game loads, followed by a Charles Atlas dragging the game options into view (an Ocean trademark, I expect). Any of the first six skill levels can be selected. Control of your defences is by keys or Kempston joystick. Using the keyboard is difficult, since you have to cover five keys, but not impossible.
The first tracers descend fairly calmly and are not too difficult to stop, though you have to watch out for the odd one that sneaks in at the side of the screen. Subsequent waves are more of a problem, especially when an individual tracer head decides to gallop off in all directions - it splits up to form a Nile delta effect.
Quite frequently, a spy satellite floats across, which you can pot for extra points. It's harmless but can distract you from the main business in hand since it always flies across the top half of the screen. You re-adjust your sight after blasting one, and find you're minus a city or three.
Between rounds is a pleasant pause while your score is updated, the number of missiles and cities remaining are confirmed, and the unknown enemy are having a half-time orange.
Points are gained by hitting tracers and satellites, and for every unfired missile. Sound effects are used sensibly and add to the atmosphere.
Armageddon is a very satisfying game that caters for a range of skill abilities. I rate this as one of the best versions of the breed around. Don't miss out on future nostalgia - get it now.