Various/ US Gold
2 cassettes £9.95
SHOOT 'EM UPS is the title of the latest 4 game compilation from US
Gold, but it might well have been called 'The Good, The Bad & The
Ugly' for it is a pretty mixed batch quality-wise.
First the good, and they don't come any better than DROPZONE. Super
sound, dazzling rainbow colour graphics, slick animation and
warpspeed scrolling combine to make this DEFENDER clone a mega-game
in every sense of the word. It's worth loading this one just to view
the title screen and high score table which are better than most
GAMES currently on the market!
DROPZONE proves once and for all that the graphic capabilities of
Atari 8-bit computers are second to none (the Crappydore version
doesn't come close). An undoubted classic - possibly the best Atari
game ever. If you don't have it in your collection then you don't
have a collection. It's as simple as that.
Also in the 'Good' category is FORT APOCALYPSE. Quite popular
with the compilation brigade as it also figures in English
Software's latest 'Hits' release. In a cross between Choplifter and
Scramble you must brave the Kralthan defenses and fly your
jet-copter into the depths of the dreaded Fort Apocalypse to rescue
all the prisoners held captive there. Enemy robocopters, tanks,
SPM's and missile drones are easily dealt with (easily?!?), but the
hyper chambers and RFE shafts are a different kettle of jellied eels
(or even fish). They bring a strategic element to the game and
you'll soon realise that this isn't just a game of brute force and
ignorance. Just one of the many superior programs which made Synapse
the premier Atari software company only a few short years ago.
Whatever happened to them, I wonder?
Bad is an apt way to describe Sega's SUPER ZAXXON. As a
follow-up to the enormously popular ZAXXON it took the Zaxxon theme
to new heights in the arcades, but the Atari version is poor in
comparison with the original. Both games feature scrolling action in
simulated 3-D as you guide your spaceship against the might of the
awesome Zaxxon space fortress. In SUPER ZAXXON the robot guarding
the second and final fortress has been replaced by a dragon (no
mother-in-law jokes please!), which requires six hits in it's gaping
mouth to destroy it. Sadly all the other changes are not for the
better. The graphics in SUPER ZAXXON have been condensed so that
everything appears on a much smaller scale. It's a big strain on the
eyesight and the realistic effect of the ship tilting and diving
over the fortress is all but lost. The colours are real dullsville
but, worse than that even, the Atari version is inferior to certain
other computer versions of the game. Sacrilege!! The next time Sega
release a decent Atari game it will be their first since the
Finally it's the ugly one. BLUE MAX 2001 was a very belated
follow-up to the classic BLUE MAX, a 3-D World War I bi-plane shoot
'em up which borrowed the basic Zaxxon idea and then improved on it
a thousandfold. If Synapse released a better game I've yet to see
it. Perhaps too much was expected of it's successor? Anyway, it
turned out a disappointment.
The action is set in the year 2001 with Max Chatsworth IX, direct
descendant of the legendary 'Blue Max', piloting an octagonal
polo-mint (if you want to call it a space-age hovership that's your
business .... it looks like an octagonal polo-mint to me!) against
the evil Furxx empire who have taken over the earthbase, Gamma IV.
Control of the polo-mint is via the diagonals, making it a nightmare
to fly, far less operate the bombs and lasers, with any degree of
accuracy. If you fancy shooting down a few enemy spacecraft, forget
it. It's easier to get a laugh out of Ted Rogers on 3-2-1!!
BLUE MAX 2001 was almost the last game released by Synapse. What a
pity they couldn't finish on a higher note.
Compilations like this are a great idea as they help introduce new
Atari owners to some of the older games they may have missed out on.
If US Gold had substituted SUPER ZAXXON and BLUE MAX 2001 with their
original counterparts (ZAXXON and BLUE MAX) this package would have