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In search of the magic of maps.

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Quazie name, quazie guy.

Most people with an interest in retro gaming will have heard of, if not played, Paradroid on the Commodore 64 (or its flashier brother Paradroid 90). The game's superb concept pitched a lone droid against a ship of mechanised foes, which could be dispatched in the usual fashion (laser blast to the face) or overwhelmed and gutted for parts via some cheeky hacking.

Back in Speccyland, Quazatron directly ripped this idea off - but before anyone begins to tut tut in disgust, the author (Steve Turner) was part of the Graftgold team responsible for Paradroid. So that's alright then.

Where Quazatron differed was in its presentation. Rather than a top-down view, the Spectrum opted for isometric 3D and identified enemies with a hierarchy of serial numbers. It's necessary to pay attention to these, because the roaming robots otherwise appear identical - rather like spherical dreidels, or... er... a set of intimate vibrating beads. Curb your excitement though, because the only pleasure they understand is the thrill of exterminating your plucky bot.

In contrast, the excellent electronic-hijacking subgame was wisely left alone. As in Paradroid, this is a case of choosing one side of the circuit board, spotting gaps in your opponent's defences and firing off tactically placed connecting wires. Triumph, and various spoils of war can be had - but in order to properly cope with an improved weapon (for example), your scavenger must equip a suitable power supply.

Although graphically appealing, the viewpoint change actually makes control a bit confusing - to the extent that the instructions recommend turning your joystick 45 degrees. Scrolling is also rather jerky, and accidentally skidding off higher planes is all too easy. It's marvellous for the Spectrum to have a Paradroid clone, but a straight port may have been the wiser option.

7 / 10