ZX Spectrum Games

ZX Spectrum Games

20 Jan 2012

Spectrum Games - V - Classic ZX Spectrum Game

V ZX Spectrum
Ahh V.

One of my favourite TV shows from the 80s. It had the awesome and spooky intro music, it had Mike Donovan in his scarily tight faded denims, it had Ham Tyler being the utlimate badass and above all it had Diana; the sexy alien leader who warped peoples minds in the conversion chamber whilst simultaneously turning on teenage lads up and down the land.

When I found out my favourite show was being made into a computer game I was as excited as Jeff Minter on a Llama farm - and with Ocean Software at the helm it should turn out to be great.

The alien invasion show was classic material and the basis for a classic arcade game. Or was it?

Lets hammer punch those lizards back off the planet  -  nice loading screen
You played the part of Mike Donovan - resistance leader and all round good guy. The game took place on board one of the visitors motherships, with you attempting to sabotage it by planting bombs in various key locations.

In true arcade game style though there were some security precautions to prevent intruders like yourself from getting far. In particular (and this is where the game fell down straight away), four kinds of robots were roaming around the ship:
1) Surveillance - follows you and enables the Visitors to track you
2) Maintenance - fairly harmless; fixes things aboard the ship
3) Cleaner - airborne janitor robots, in effect
4) Security - should be avoided like the plague; fast and dangerous

We did not want robots chasing us! We wanted the alien lizards! This was V - not invasion of the robot monsters....

All the robots were electrified to prevent interference. Contact with them will gave you a nasty shock - and receiving too many shocks resulted in game over.
Mike Donovan explores never ending corridors in V
As usual for computer games from this era it was all about exploration, opening locked doors with codes and using teleporters (teleporters in V?) to move around the ship.

The problem here was that it just want't V. The ship was never ending (and remarkably dull) corridors that looked identical - I remember being excited running past a hanger with one of the fighter ships in it which was the only thing that resembled anything from the TV show.

With no aliens to fight, a lazer gun to only shoot at robots, no conversion chamber to avoid and no sign of Diana the game became repetitive and duller than a dull thing that's been covered in black matt paint and dropped in the bottom of a well.

Crash Magazine asked 'Where are the Visitors?' and gave it 70% overall - which I thought was a tad generous.

On Release:
This is a classic game that was hyped up a lot prior to it's release. The TV show had been an absolute sensation - and a game tie-in was inevitable. The general feeling was that it was a decent game that could have been any old arcade adventure; it was as if the TV tie-in was an afterthought. 
Which it probably was to make money.

The Test Of Time:
It was a pretty average arcade game back then so by todays standards it has aged badly. With repetitive and endless corridors and little in the way of arcade action I can't really recommend it. Nice animation on the main character though.

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

GENRE: Arcade Game (TV Tie In)
RELEASED BY: Ocean Software
DEVELOPER(S): Nick Bruty, Gary Knight, F David Thorpe
PRICE: £7.95 - UK

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