ZX Spectrum Stainless Steel
As far as I remember, this was one hyped up arcade game before it was released for the ZX Spectrum by Mikro-Gen (and programmer Dave Perry) in September of 1986.
The hero of the game was the 80's sounding 'Ricky Steel' (a teenager with a mechanical arm) who also had the 80's sounding special car called 'Nightwing'.
Anyway, and evil bloke called the uber-cheesy and cheap aftershave sounding 'Dr Vardos' was out to conquer the world. Well, our Ricky was having none of that!
The action was viewed from above (classic arcade gaming top down view) and the gameplay area scrolled smoothly upwards and downwards.
The game contained four zones, each with its own set of hazards which became successively more difficult. Enemy craft approached from either in front or behind, so you had to be on the lookout at all times for the nasties.
All in all, this game really is a scrolling arcade game of the shmup variety.
In the first game zone you had to leg it along the tarmac and pavement, avoiding helicopters which had the capacity to blast you into tiny pieces, accompanied with an awful exposion sound effect. A collision with a helicopter was also fatal.
Fortunately, Ricky could fire missiles too and also had a bomb shield to soften the effects of enemy attack. Scurrying past traffic jams and road barriers whilst destroying android patrol ships which moved across the road, the man with the steel arm had to make for the end of the zone (the top end of the road) where his trusty car was waiting.
In the second game zone you got to fly 'Nightwind' - and the task at hand was a little harder. Bubbles of fuel had to be collected to keep the super-car in the air as you fought your way across an arid desert.
Rockets zoomed back and forth and you had to use your powerful laser cannon to bring them down. All the enemy forces had to be eradicated before the game zone was marked as complete.
In the third zone battle resumed over a watery canal type channel. Nightwind was also amphibious (as well as capable of flight - a touch of the 'Spy Hunters'!) and you had to watch out for submarines which popped up from the water every so often. Placing a bomb on the deck area of a submarine required quick timing, but lots of points were awarded for destroying any of these submersibles.
The final zone was populated with androids in the shape of lizards(?) and salamanders(??) as well as Dr Vardos' other minions. If you made it to the end and defeated Dr Vardos in the final showdown then the game was won. Muhaha haaaa!
The main screen was flanked either side with status panels. On the left, Ricky's energy and shield or arsenal strength were displayed below the current score. On the right, the zone number was shown together with any bonus points awarded, the number of androids that remained in the zone, and large red hearts told you how many lives you had left to play with.
In a neat switch, if the enemy forces were not shot down fast enough it was possible to end up with a negative bonus score, so quick shooting was the way to go.
A radar screen below the main display area detailled Ricky's position in relation to the enemies in the current zone, and a message was flashed here when Ricky was killed. This seemed to happen to me a lot.
Well as far as my memory serves me, arcade gamers were expecting a lot from this game. When it was released it was perhaps a little disappointing as it was (when you played it for a while) just another top down scrolling shooter. The game was very polished with excellent presentation, smooth scrolling and detailled 'metallic' looking graphics (our imaginations did a lot back then!) Anyway, this game was generally well liked, but it just seemed to lack that certain 'something'.
The test of time:
Arrgh! This game frustrates me! I never was very good at all those years ago, and am still crap today. The main play area seems a bit too small and you don't have enough time to see the enemies arriving on screen even when you use the radar. The fact that you go right back to the start of the level when you get killed is a constant niggle too. I can't play this for very long, there are other arcade games that I much prefer. Having said all that, it is a good example of how detailled graphics, smooth scrolling and nice music could be created on the Sinclair Spectrum.
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair ZX Spectrum hardware, but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download this game. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
Please see our other ZX Spectrum retro game reviews - all links are listed in alphabetical order. Cheers guys.
GENRE: Arcade game
RELEASE DATE: September 1986
RELEASED BY: Mikro-Gen
DEVELOPER(S): Dave Perry
I get killed and decide to nip to the pub instead. It could have been an arcade classic:
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