After four months of keyboard pounding, Jeff Minter
is back in the limelight once more. As could well be
expected, the Zzyaxians are back as well and this time
they're on the defensive. In a 'Star wars' type story,
the 'Pseudo Sci Fi Bit' as Minter calls it, you are
in control of a daring task force attempting a raid
on Zzyax Prime, the controlling planet of their galaxy-wide
empire. The plan calls for the reactivation of a set
of mystical structures that date from a time before
the tyrannical Zzyaxians conquered the magically technological
world for themselves. Upon reactivation, a specially
trained task force wise in the ways of Prime's latent
powers are to move in and use the near endless energy
supply to drive the Zzyaxians from their homeworld.
With the hub of the wheel shattered, the spokes of the
empire should soon splinter into meaningless oblivion.
The Zzyax, not totally naive, have left automated defences
to repel any such rebel attack.
play a Psi Op, an entity of advanced psionic ability
who can leap between the minds of the task forces, each
battling to reactivate a mystical site. There are five
such sites and one relaxation area to calm your battered
neurons. To be an effective psi op, you must constantly
leap between all five different battlefields, repelling
and attacking the enemy. Though it may be tempting,
it is wiser to leave those kinds of battle at which
you are most proficient till last, because the skill
of your opponents grows the more you progress through
the game. If you attempt and complete any set task,
then your other goals become a lot more difficult. So
clearly you must choose the order of reactivation carefully.
And if the struggle becomes too much, there is still
site number six specially created for pleasure and relaxation.
is a collection of five games and one non-game, which
is a simple form of Psychedelia. The six different
sections are entered via keys 1 to 6 on the keyboard,
and each is instantly accessible at any time -- the
program makes a note of your position when you left.
While you are in one of the sub-games, its icon is highlighted
among the row of icons each depicting one of the six
sections. To complete a section you have to light up
one of a row of characters, five characters in the row,
one for each game. The character appears in four different
sections as you pass various stepping stones within
the game. Different characters are predictably Minteresque
objects such as sheep and antelope. Before starting
you select a skill level, and depending on that level
you are given an amount of time to complete Batalyx.
The times range from one and a half hours down to five
minutes, though it's a lot more likely your games will
be of the one and a half hour type.
This screenshot was not in the original review
It has been admitted by the hairy one, that this is
an 'Asteroids' derivative. Trapped in a wrap round blank
screen, you control a small craft using globular little
bomblets as the main source of propulsion and attack.
To fire a stream of bomblets you merely point the joystick
in the direction you wish the stream to travel. The
trouble is that thanks to some fairly fundamental laws
of physics, the little bomblet machine flies off in
the opposite direction. The scene is set on the fringe
of space, the upper atmosphere of Zzyax Prime, and the
gas present has enough viscosity to slow you down rather
than whizz about endlessly and helplessly as in 'Asteroids'.
task is to destroy the defence satellites placed around
Prime's orbit. There are 16 different types, each with
its own distinct movement pattern. For each satellite
totalled, a small square on a screen-long bar lights
up. If you crash into a stray satellite then some squares
are knocked off the bar, the actual quantity depends
on how late you entered the game. When all the bar is
lighted, half Hallucin-O-Bomblets icon is shown, and
to complete the whole icon you must fill another bar.
a sufficient number of satellites and a new type replaces
the vanquished minions. Attacking nasties are such things
as pint glasses, cippies, ex Prime Minister Aardvarks
and similar others.
of the Mutant Camels II
2: Attack of the Mutant Camels II
Attack of the Mutant Camels is possibly one of
Llamasoft's most famous creations. Recently it was converted
to the Atari and a lot of the creative work infused
into the Atari version has now been put back into the
Commodore. For those very few of you unaware of AMC's
game type, you control a small craft powered with a
low energy laser. Attacking are mutant camels. These
require zapping many times before they die. When it's
nearing its end, the beast kneels down, and can then
be vanquished by a couple more well placed laser blasts.
The camels' weapons are Bonio's of Doom, a deadly device
similar in shape to a famous biscuit for dogs. Complete
one sheet by destroying all the camels and you can then
warp to the next. Flying through the warp, you are pelted
with a shower of Bonio's -- best avoided as your shields
are limited in number.
Zzyaxians camels aren't real however, they're robots,
the shape chosen because man is loath to shoot anything
vaguely camel shaped. The pseudo camels' role is as
one of Prime's built-in defences, there to ward off
any potential attackers.
of Iridis Base
3: The Activation of Iridis Base
Described by Jeff as 'probably the most abstract of
the six games' this is essentially a simple (!) test
of reactions. The base, disguised as a pyramid, looms
in the background while in the foreground there is a
group of nine squares representing the nine positions
of the joystick -- left, right, up, down, fire and diagonals.
These squares light up to indicate the direction you
are to move the joystick, and this must be done immediately.
Failure to do so will result in the loss of one of six
phosphenes, sort of 'lives'. When all six are gone,
then that particular attempt at activation is aborted
and the sequence has to be started once again.
successfully activating the base you are treated to
a colourful display similar to the effect featured on
the album cover of Pink Floyds 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
on the Run with a few friends in tow on the first bonus
4: Cippy on the Run
Set in the Metapsionic Power Wave Guide Channel (?),
nicknamed the Grey Corridor, you must reactivate this
structure by physically touching every segment of the
structure and thinking really hard. The corridor is
a simple version of Minter's s Sheep in Space
planet. There is ground on both top and bottom of the
screen and each has its own gravity. The main sprite,
a porky Ancipital, can run on either floor and you push
the joystick towards the floor you wish to move to.
Cippy remains centrally positioned while the corridor
scrolls about him.
Zzyaxians have left a supply of phosphene globes to
interfere with your task. These appear in the distance
and move closer; if you let them come into the foreground
they go haywire and slam themselves into the corridor,
mutating a segment. The effect the phosphene has depends
on when you start playing, but earlier mutations cause
the segments to repel you or throw you to the other
side or even warp you to another section of the corridor.
There are also a few holes in the corridor which, if
you're clumsy enough to fall into one, blast you away
and the sheet must be started again. On later screens
things get nasty as segments are deactivated when you
travel over them twice. To battle the phosphene interferers,
a stream of sprites are constantly ejected from Cippy's
supplied is a scanner showing most of the corridor.
The mutated and activated segments plus any holes are
clearly shown. To light up this game's icon you need
to complete four corridors. After every second level
you are given the opportunity to pick up a substantial
amount of extra points on a bonus screen. No phosphenes
appear on this screen and Cippy's form is enhanced with
a colourful trail of clones following his movements
exactly. To collect a massive bonus you need to activate
the corridor with no life loss. If time is getting close,
you can always skip this screen by hopping down the
5: Syncro II
Compunet modem owners have probably seen this as a standalone
program under Jeff's pages. This follow-up to Minter's
other freebie hit, Syncro, is a game of logic
rather than manic blasting. The structure needing reactivating
is the Great Psionic Generator of Dhi Oh. To attain
reactivation an alignment of globes is required. The
globes are given a random angle and velocity and their
paths are confined to the size of the screen so that
they bounce off the edges. Filling the screen are sixteen
different squares, each composed of a particular pattern.
You control a cursor which may be positioned on any
of the squares. Initially the squares are static, but
if you move onto one, press fire and move the joystick,
the square's pattern scrolls in the direction you move
the joystick. Also any like-patterned squares move in
unison with the square being activated. If a sphere
moves over the square, it is slowed down or speeded
up depending on the pattern's scrolling direction and
speed of scroll. The object of the game is to stop the
globes from moving by snaring them onto a square.
Psychedelia - This screenshot was not in the original