Version tested: Retro
The walled city of Antescher is inhabited by ants. Not the teeny weenie type you find under the paving slabs in your garden, these are huge bloody things - at least 6 pixels big with vast, snappy jaws and spindly legs, which home in on you for a bite as soon as you get close.
Your partner has gone wandering off into Antescher and unfortunately been taken hostage. It's your job as the brave hero to find your loved one and escort them to the realms of safety on the outskirts of the city. Celebrations abound in colourful Spectrum FLASH style on a successful mission and then, inexplicably, your partner wonders off and gets kidnapped again. Thankfully, hide and seek was my favourite school playground pastime.
The city of Antescher is presented in gob-smacking 3D Softsolid (patent pending); a ground breaking graphical technique developed by Ant Attack's author, Sandy White. Sandy takes full ‘self credit' for developing the first true isometric game allowing the player to freely roam around a vast city populated with cuboid structures, begging to be climbed and explored.
The first wander around the baron streets of the city is awe-inspiring, let down only by the awfully complex controls (14 action buttons in total) that invariably sees gamers blowing themselves up with their own grenades, jumping around in circles chasing their own tail or falling from high ledges leading to splat of death as a result of an incorrect button press. The frustration is heightened further when the infamous ants of Antescher surround you, snapping at your heels intent on sapping away your life. Frantic key bashing ensues in an attempt to get away - success is often by luck rather then skill as the player enters the panic zone.
A flawed 3D masterpiece, Ant Attack is a technical breakthrough on the Spectrum let down by a sloppy control mechanism and shallow gameplay that impinges on its long term playability.
8 / 10