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Tornado: Low Level

Just wing it.

Amongst this Top 50 you'll probably stumble across a fair few instances of reviewers hailing spectacular graphics, the staggering use of 48K of memory, or acts of maverick genius. Well, add Tornado Low Level (T.L.L.) to the exulted selection of games which exhibit all three, because here comes some incredulous praise.

Alright, it's based around flying a hi-tech aircraft and attacking targets on a map - nothing amazing to report there. Except the map is vibrantly colourful and the world is portrayed three-dimensionally with eight directions of travel as well as horizontal and vertical axes. And it effortlessly scrolls at speed without any slow-down. That, my friends, is incredible.

After fuelling up on the runway (or excitedly taking off with no juice and instantly crashing if you're, for example, an idiot), your task is to zoom around the nearby region and pick off a series of targets by flying really low over them. Really, REALLY low over them. So low that the pilot could reach out and grab a handful of grass if he felt like it.

In a truly 3D world this is a keen test of skill. Almost every part of the map is a dangerously inert opponent. Hills, pylons, buildings - they may look pretty, but they're all out to ensure that your plane becomes a fiery, plummeting tomb. It takes a deft hand and considerable practise to pick off the objectives which lurk between some telephone wires and a prosperous spinney.

Gorgeous, absorbing and, despite the subject matter, surprisingly non-violent; to this day it seems astonishing that T.L.L. can be run with the modest power of a Spectrum.

9 / 10

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Tornado: Low Level

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Peter Parrish