Monday, 23 April 2012

Extreme (ZX Spectrum)

The humble rubber keyed ZX Spectrum home computer is 30 years old today, so I thought I'd put a Speccy game on to, I dunno, celebrate or whatever.

I haven't had much luck with Spectrum games so far, but this one has to be good, surely? It's got a naked dude with robot walker legs and a Stormtrooper helmet setting fire to shit with a flamethrower while flexing! You just don't see that kind of thing on title screens these days.

Hey it's the floating head from... crap, now I can't remember what it reminds me of. I'll go with Power Rangers, I've never seen the series but I'm almost certain that had a bald head in an energy beam.

Anyway, the head tells our hero a tragic tale. Apparently his spaceship has been taken over by Steg pirates (they're the worst kind), and they've set the self-destruct. Which is bad news for everyone because the explosion will be big enough to take out this entire planet.

Fortunately our hero has an 'Exo-Trak' suit, and a plan to save the day. All I have to do is take the 'litho-acid' crystal and follow it to the energy input pad. Whatever those two things are.

I guess I'll start by going right, and if that doesn't work out I'll try left instead.

I gotta say I'm a little disappointed. The hero looks nothing like he does on the title screen! Though I do have the flamethrower, plus a jetpack.

These birds explode in one hit, but the seems to be no end of the little bastards. They've stripped off half my health almost instantly, so I'm going to make a run for it.

Uh, what? I tried to fly through the gap, but a chrome door appeared to seal it off. No matter how fast I go I can't get through any of the holes before a door slams shut to block my way.

I guess I'm going left then. 

Well these little bastards haven't gone anywhere. Fortunately the starting platform heals me and recharges my weapons, so if I can make it back there I'll be fine.

Wow, that was fast. Game over in 8 seconds. No lives, no continues.

Well it's old game, developers didn't know any better back then. When did this come out anyway? Shit... 1991? I would have guessed 5-10 years earlier.

Who the hell was making crap like this in the 90s then? Whoa Dave Perry and Nick Bruty apparently, the guys who later worked together on Aladdin and Earthworm Jim. Though they also made that damn Dan Dare III game I played, so that makes sense.


Okay cool, I've finally reached the left hand edge of the level it seems. At the top of the room I found a UFO firing balls at me, but no matter how many times I shoot it, it just won't die.

And at the bottom of the room there's a barrier, and an air pocket moving left and right through the lava. To be honest I'm not seeing how either of these things are going to help me get through those doors.

Oh hang on, I just remembered that I can cycle through weapons. I started off with a flamethrower and a few temporary shields, and it seems shooting the UFO has added a couple of  'Turbo!' power ups to my arsenal as well. I think I'm beginning to formulate a scheme.


Awesome, 5 seconds of 'Turbo!' was enough to get me through the gap before the door could close.

And then I accidentally used my second turbo up straight afterwards because I forgot to switch back to the flamethrower. But that's okay, because I'm through now and I'm never going back.

Past the doors I reached a narrow twisting passageway guarded by spiky floating orbs that are a pain in the ass to hit. Though very easy to collide with. GAME OVER AGAIN.


I started off by heading left again to shoot the UFO, and realised that this thing in the corner next to it is actually a flame activated button. And I bet I know exactly what it turns off.

Yeah, the switch opened up the barrier leading to the lava. From there I was able to dive into the moving gap and hover across all the way to another room.

At least that's what I did the second time. The first time I got to the lava I forgot all about the moving gap and tried diving in with a shield power up on. It didn't work out.

Awesome, I found a giant atom on a string! I guess I've got to backtrack through the lava and pull it along the pipe above then.


You know, I think I've lost my atom. I really hope that wasn't the 'litho-acid' crystal I need to save the world.

Well, no use crying over it. I'll grab another one of these turbos from the UFO, and I'll head back right.

Yes, flash 'ENERGY LOW' all over the fucking screen, that'll surely help me dodge the enemies.

Damn, I hope I can make it back to the recharge point on two bars of health, or else I'll have to do all this again.


This time I'm not going to bother trying to fight the pointy hurtballs in the zig-zagging corridor. I'm just going to use up a couple of shield power ups and fly right through unharmed. In theory.

Shit, after all that there's another bloody door. Fortunately I brought a spare 'Turbo!' this time, so if these spiny spikespheres would just fuck off for a moment to let me cycle through my weapons... 


Game over again. Oh bollocks to it.

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