Sigma 7 (Durell) Review | Commodore User - Everygamegoing

Commodore User

Sigma 7
By Durell
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #40

Sigma 7

Sigma 7 is a seven level, three stage challenge in which you must blast aliens, uncover codes and solve cosmic puzzles.

The first stage of the first level starts as you blast off from your base for the short trip to the first factory. On route you will have to battle your way through the swarming space mines that sweep past you before charging in for the kill. Bonuses can be earned if you can take out a whole wave of mines without losing one of your three lives.

At first sight this seems remarkably easy as they fly in front of your sights before charging. The killer mines are the ones that suddenly change course to trap unwary Sigma pilots hiding in the corner of the Zaxxon-style, diagonally scrolling screen. Generously your arrival at the factory is greeted by three bonus lives! The bad news is, you're going to need them.

Stage two is a variant of Pacman! No, don't turn over, it's actually quite good. A massive diagonally scrolling maze is littered with dots that you must clear while avoiding the deadly touch of the defending robo-mines. These home in on you at an alarming rate trapping you despite the fact you can blow them away with a single laser blast. If you lose your concentration, you'll be quickly overrun, lose a life and be returned to the start of the maze.

A spiral at the top of the screen keeps a track of the time you've taken and changes colour once you've cleared a percentage of the screen (that's not much on the first level). Then you can leave the factory and proceed to the final stage of the game.

Before you can solve the cosmic puzzle that lies ahead in this final challenge you must reveal the code hidden in the dots that cover the factory floor. These are revealed as dots that aren't cleared and form a shape that must be entered on the control unit in stage three. This is done by positioning your "key sphere" over appropriate squares and pressing fire as they reach yellow in the changing cycle of colours. However, you must be quick as a deadly force field tracks your every move, making this almost impossible. Should you succeed then it's back to stage one but at a higher level.

As the levels increase the distance between base and factory grows as does the number of mines to dodge, the mazes get bigger and more complex with passageways arranged to lead you into robo-mine traps. And finally the code that you must enter gets harder and harder until even the best must fall. You'd have to be magnificent to reach level seven.

An interesting mix of arcade skills and puzzle solving will be required to complete this. The slick presentation and impressive graphics hide this game's simplicity (a combination of Zaxxon, Pacman and a slide puzzle!) and will give it a higher chart position that it deserves.

Tony Hetherington

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