ZX Spectrum Deathchase
If ever there was a cult classic arcade game (on an 8-bit platform), then '3D' Deathchase has to be it. Released at the tail end of 1983, this classic game is even more remarkable due to the fact that it was squeezed into only 16K of memory! (16K Spectrum) An unbelievable feat.
Micromega really struck gold with this one, and it's timing of release which coincided with the movie Return of the Jedi (and it's famous 'speeder bike' scenes) really helped sales along nicely.
Micromega would go on to release many more quality computer games for the ZX Spectrum over the next few years such as Braxx Bluff, Codename MAT and the excellent adventure game, Kentilla.
This was an arcade game that was sooo simple, yet sooo addictive. The game is all about arcade action, quick reflexes and a fast trigger finger.
You take the part of a motorbike riding mercenary, who has to pursue and destroy two other bikers (one yellow and one blue) through a forest (slightly strange circumstances, but what the heck eh?)
Besides being on the rapid side, your machine was also equipped with a forward firing gun (which only fired when you are at full speed). The 'bullets' fired could be 'steered' in mid flight by the turning to the left or right. Neat.
Anyway, it was up to you to pursue the bad guys and basically blast them to bits (giving you $1000 for each kill). Once both were destroyed then the game would switch to 'Night patrol' (adding a twist to the feel of the game) and you would speed again through the inky darkness to hunt down your quarry.
Two more kills and you would be onto the next stage, which would put you in a denser forest with more trees to avoid. Crashing into a tree meant instant death and the loss of a life.
It was a case of getting through all eight stages (both in day and night patrol) - completing stage eight returned you to level one (that's classic game ethos right there!)
The occasional tank or helicopter would also stray across the screen and could be shot for bonus dollars - but you did not have to destroy them to complete the level.
The later levels in this arcade game were thick with trees, and it would take all of your concentration to weave in and out of them - never mind trying to aim at the enemy.
Like I said, this arcade game was simple and had little depth overall, but it did keep you coming back for more due to it's supreme playability.
This game was well received and scored a whopping 92% in Crash magazine. Spectrum gamers marvelled at the incredibly rapid 3D graphics and the intensity of the gameplay. The asking price of £6.95 was well within most peoples budgets, and 3D games at the time really caught the imagination of many. For pure arcade action, Deathchase was difficult to beat.
The test of time:
We here in the land of Spectrum games we reckon that this is a classic game that still holds appeal even today. Okay - the gameplay is simple, but it's still a total blast hurtling through the forest at break neck speed. The programmer behind the game Mervyn Estcourt etched his name in retro history with this game. Legendary.
Stick on a bit of ROTJ (before the Ewoks come into it), grab a pair of goggles and give this classic game a go. You'll feel the wind in your hair.
We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download this game for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other game reviews and programmer interviews. All links are in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.
GENRE: 3D Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: Tail end of 1983
RELEASED BY: Micromega
DEVELOPER(S): Mervyn Estcourt (Sometimes credited as Mervyn J Estcourt)
PRICE: £6.95 - UK
A true classic arcade game...
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