ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

16 Nov 2009

Spectrum Games - On The Run - ZX Spectrum retro game

ZX Spectrum On The Run
Design Design were one of those companies who released solid games and were well known for their sense of humour.

On The Run was released for the ZX Spectrum in September of 1985 and was well recieved by us demanding Speccy gamers.

This game was yet another (quality) flick screen arcade adventure game for the Spectrum that was actually quite large and complex (it boasted a whopping 300 screens in total!)

Spectrum Games On The Run
Rick Swift Is 'On The Run'

You played the part of Rick Swift (Another classic 80's name!) - a do-gooding character if ever there was one. This time though you had taken on something a little too dangerous.

You had accepted a task from the Defence Department to clean up an area that had become contaminated by a spillage of some rather nasty chemical weapons. Plants and wild life had suffered from the effects of the chemicals and mutated into strange new people eating life-forms. Time for a spot of classic gaming.

Running round the contaminated zone (I wanna go to The Island!) you had to cope with the angry mutations which included anything from giant mushrooms to chomping jaws.

You had been equiped with a suit which protected you from the effects of the chemicals in the contaminated zone. A jet pack allowed you to zip around at speed - and speed was of the essence in this classic game.

To complete the game you had to collect six flasks in a time limit of 1 hour (otherwise they would degrade beyond repair and it was adios muchachos).

The suit had the usual energy level which was drained whenever you came into contact with one of the mutations and which could be restored by collecting certain powerups. If the suit energy reached zero then it was game over.
Rick Swift is On The Run - ZX Spectrum
Check out the flora and fauna
There were lots of weird and wonderful objects lying around the game screens. Generally they produce one of four outcomes:

Death, more energy, instant transport to another zone or... absolutely nothing at all.

The mushrooms seemed to be the best and safest source of energy but for everything else you just had to experiment. As far as creatures went it was best to shoot everything in sight (you were armed) as almost everything was deadly.

To make life a little easier you may just discover a few smart bombs which were littered around the place. These were very useful for clearing areas chock-full of mobile mutants.

As we already know, the maze was very large (300 screens was very impressive) and was divided into a number of sections. You could only move from one section to another if you had collected one particular object from the area you were currently in.

Above the main display a bar graph showed you the condition of your suit, along with a timer that counted down to degredaton hour! Any smart bombs collected were also shown and there were some 'empty slots' to be filled with collected flasks.

You scored points for killing the mutants - but Design Design left out a high score table (they probably ran out memory which isn't surprising considering the game was so massive).

On release:
Design Design games were usually well anticipated - and this one was no exception. It was well recieved by us Spectrum gamers and was a big hit in 1985. Fans of this genre loved the massive playing area, large colourful graphics and problem solving elements.

The test of time:
On The Run is still a nice enough game with plenty of screens to explore. It does get a little repetetive after a while though and only the most determined of players would see it through to the end. Still, here in Spectrum Games we must put it down as a classic arcade adventure that happens to have a crappily named central character!

Go for a run and give it a go.

We recommend getting hold of the real hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download On The Run for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.

Please see our other Spectrum retro game reviews and programmer interviews - all links are in alphabetical order. Cheers all!

GENRE: Arcade Game
RELEASE DATE: September of 1985
RELEASED BY: Design Design
DEVELOPER(S): Graham Stafford and Stuart Ruecroft
PRICE: £6.90 - UK

Rick Swift goes On The Run - a slightly different arcade game:

Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games

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