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Plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery.

On December 27th 2004 several satellites and telescopes from around the world detected an explosion on the surface of SGR 1806-20, a neutron star 50,000 light years away. The resulting flash of energy which lasted only a tenth of a second, released more energy than the Sun emits in 150,000 years. But that Starquake was a fart in whirlpool compared to Bubble Bus' superlative platform adventure namesake.

Back in the mid 80's Bubble Bus weren't the only software house trying to cash in on the enormous success of rivals Ultimate Play the Game. But when they released their zenith, Starquake, many an unobservant teen would have been taken in by its 'tribute' to the Ultimate style inlay artwork, loading screen and presentation.

But this is no cheap knockoff; it's a game that the Stamper brothers themselves would be proud of.

The game follows B.L.O.B. (Bio-Logically Operated Being, obviously) who crash lands his ship on an unknown world and clumsily manages to devastate the planet's foundations in the process. To stop the impending obliteration of this un-chartered territory Blob must find the scattered pieces of the planets core whilst avoiding the understandably miffed inhabitants of the previously peaceful domain.

This is no walk in the park though (unless the park is made up of 512 flip-screens full of caverns, platforms and murderous beasties that is) as the pieces of the broken nucleus are scattered far and wide. It's a lucky coincidence then that Blob's previous career in bricklaying can be put to good use allowing you to build temporary platforms to reach higher areas. His deft control of Space Hopper hover-platforms can also be employed to zip around the wonderfully designed screens.

Starquake is huge and the cleverness of the puzzles gives you a sense of achievement as you progress. Intuitive controls, fantastic music and sound and its sheer fun make it one of the best Spectrum games ever.

Despite this though, Starquake does have one rather dubious honour. The cassette inlay contains the worst made up word in games history - 'Gosharooties'


10 / 10

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